STAMFORD, March 5 – Kelly Steadman, Devon Skeats and Megan Bozek each had goals as the Buffalo Beauts beat the Connecticut Whale for the first time this season and tied their best-of-3 National Women’s Hockey League Isobel Cup semifinal series at 1-1 Saturday night at Chelsea Pier in Stamford.
The deciding game 3 will be in Stamford on Sunday afternoon beginning at 6 p.m. The winner will advance to the Isobel Cup championship series against Boston next weekend in Newark, N.J. Boston swept its semifinal series against New York Saturday with a 7-4 victory over the Riveters.
Despite 38 shots on net – their second highest shooting performance of the season, the Whale could only get one goal past Buffalo goalie Brianne McLaughlin, who picked up her first career playoff win with a 37 save effort. Kelly Babstock had second goal of the playoffs off assists from Micaela Long and Sam Faber that cut the Beauts lead to two goals, 3-1.
Buffalo, which lost its first seven games against the Whale, took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals from Kelly Steadman and Devon Skeats. Buffalo made it 3-0 early in the second period on a power-play goal by Megan Bozek.
For Connecticut. Jaimie Leonoff made 19 saves in net.
Buffalo 4, Connecticut 1
Buffalo 2 1 1 — 4
Connecticut 0 1 0 — 1
Buffalo 1, Kelly Steadman (Shelby Braum), 10:15; Buffalo 2, Devon Skeats (Kelly McDonald), 19:28; Penalties: Kourtney Kunichika (Buffalo), tripping, 5:50; Kelly Babstock (CT) interference, 13:01; Hailey Brown (Buffalo), tripping, 17:14
Buffalo 3, Megan Bozek (Steadman, Lindsay Grigg), 0:30 (pp); Connecticut 1, Kelly Babstock (Micaela Long, Sam Faber), 5:50; Penalties: Kaleigh Fratkin (CT) body checking, 0:18; Lindsay Grigg (Buffalo), interference, 8:57; Kelli Stack (CT) cross checking, 9:20; Megan Bozek (Buffalo), interference, 11:42; Bozel (Buffalo), tripping, 15:04
Buffalo 4, Hailey Brown, 18:02 (en); Penalties: Browne (Buffalo) high sticking, 5:25; Emily Pfalzer (Buffalo) roughing. 10:49; Danielle Ward (CT), roughing, 10:49
Shots on goal: Buffalo 24 (10-8-6), Connecticut 38 (8-16-14)
Goalies: Buffalo, Brianne McLaughlin (W, 1-1), 38 shots, 37 saves; Connecticut, Jaimie Leonoff (L, 1-1), 22 shots, 19 saves