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Undefeated Whale cough up five-goal lead, still top Buffalo in shootout – The Collinsville Press
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Undefeated Whale cough up five-goal lead, still top Buffalo in shootout

After giving up five goals in the second period, Connecticut goalie held Buffalo scoreless in the third period, overtime and a shootout Sunday.

After giving up five goals in the second period, Connecticut goalie Nicole Stock held Buffalo scoreless in the third period, overtime and a shootout Sunday to help the Whale beat the Beauts, 7-6 in a shootout.

BUFFALO, Nov. 22 – Despite giving up a five-goal lead, the Connecticut Whale remain the only undefeated team left in the National Women’s Hockey League after beating the winless Buffalo Beauts, 7-6 in a shootout Sunday.

The Whale (5-0) prevailed in the shootout, 1-0 on a goal by Kelly Babstock. Connecticut goalie Nicole Stock stopped all three Buffalo skaters in the shootout to secure the win. It was the first overtime game and first shootout in league history.

Connecticut led 6-1 in the second period thanks to four power play goals. But the Whale gave up five goals to Buffalo in the second period, including three power play goals.

Thanks to four Buffalo penalties in the opening period, Connecticut leaped out to a 5-1 lead. The Whale took a 2-0 lead on an extended 5-on-3 advantage with goals from Sam Faber and Kelli Stack. Goals from Kaleigh Fratkin and Kelly Babstock extended the lead to 4-0. Jessica Koizumi scored with two seconds left in the first period for a 5-1 Connecticut lead.

In the second period, Shiann Darkangelo scored to increase the Whale lead to five, 6-1, before Buffalo (0-5) began its rally. Buffalo scored five goals to tie the game at 6-6. Overall, Kourtney Kunichika and Kelley Steadman had two goals each for Buffalo while Meghan Duggan had a goal and two assists. Buffalo’s Emily Pfalzer had five assists.

The Whale travel to Boston on Sunday to take on Boston at 3 p.m. at Harvard’s Bright and Landry Center. The game will also be televised on NESN.

Buffalo’s Megan Bozek became the first NWHL player ejected from a game after a high-sticking major in the first period.

Connecticut 7, Buffalo 6
At Buffalo
Connecticut (5-0)           5  1  0  1  — 7
Buffalo (0-5)                  1  5  0  0  — 6
Connecticut won the shootout, 1-0

First period
1 – Connecticut, Sam Faber, 13:02; 2 – Connecticut, Kelli Stack (Jessica Koizumi), 11:10 (pp); 3 – Connecticut, Kaleigh Fratkin (Kelly Babstock, Shannon Doyle), 10:09 (pp), 4 – Connecticut, Babstock (Micaela Long, Jordan Brickner), 7:37 (pp); 1 – Buffalo, Kelley Steadman (Kelly McDonald, Emily Pfalzer), 6:53 (sh); 5 – Connecticut, Koizumi (Long, Fratkin), 0:02 (pp)
Penalties – Haley Williams, Buffalo (tripping), 12:06; Devon Skeats, Buffalo (tripping), 11:41; Megan Bozek, Buffalo (slashing, game ejection), 11:10; Paige Harrington, Buffalo (check from behind), 0:34
Second period
6 – Connecticut, Shiann Darkangelo, 16:35; 2 – Buffalo, Kourtney Kunichika (Meghan Duggan, Pfalzer), 14:48 (pp), 3 – Buffalo, Steadman (Pfalzer, Duggan), 6:55 (pp); 4 – Buffalo, Kunichika (McDonald, Devon Skeats), 5:25 (pp); 5 – Buffalo, Duggan (Pfalzer, Hannah McGowen), 5:08; 6 – Buffalo, Hayley Williams (Pfalzer), 3:23
Penalties – Danielle Ward, Connecticut (roughing), 7:35; Ward, Connecticut (interference), 7:35; Kaleigh Fratkin, Connecticut (cross checking), 6:07; Devon Skeats, Buffalo (check from behind), 1:45
Third period
No scoring
Penalties – Brittany Dougherty, Connecticut (Hooking), 13:35; Sam Faber, Connecticut (roughing), 12:12; Williams, Buffalo (check from behind), 7:10; Dougherty, Connecticut (high sticking), 4:24
No scoring
Penalties – Dougherty, Connecticut (interference), 1:47
Shootout – Connecticut 1 (Kelly Babstock G, Darkangelo NG, Stack NG); Buffalo 0 (Kunichika NG, Steadman NG, Tatiana Rafter NG)
Shots on goal – Connecticut 26 (10-8-5-3); Buffalo 36 (13-12-5-6)
Power play opportunities – Connecticut 4 of 7; Buffalo 3 of 7
Goalies – Connecticut, Jaimie Leonoff (13 shots – 12 saves), Nicole Stock (23 shots – 18 saves); Buffalo – Brianne McLaughlin (10 shots – 5 saves); Amanda Makela (16 shots – 15 saves)

NWHL standings
                                          W L     SL    Pts
Connecticut                        5-0      0      10
Boston                                3-2      0      6
New York                            2-3      0      4
Buffalo                                0-5      1      1
Sunday’s results
Connecticut 7, Buffalo 6, shootout
New York 3, Boston 2
Sunday, November 28
Connecticut at Boston, 3
Buffalo at New York, 7

Since 2009, the Collinsville Press has been providing award-winning coverage of sports and news in the Farmington Valley and across Connecticut.

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