SIMSBURY, January 18, 2023 – For a time, it looked like the Connecticut Whale could just score at will. The Whale scored the first four goals of Wednesday night’s Premier Hockey Federation game against the Buffalo Beauts at the International Skating Center of Connecticut in 12 minutes.
But this is professional hockey and the Beauts scored the next three goals to cut the lead to one with 12:47 left in regulation.
That’s all the Whale needed to see. Connecticut scored two goals in less than a minute to regain control of the game and beat Buffalo, 7-3 to sweep the two-game, mid-week series with the Beauts.
Connecticut’s Kennedy Marchment, the reigning league MVP, got her first professional hat trick and took the lead for most points in the league (19) and tied for the lead in goals (12). While the last place Beauts have struggled this year with a 1-9-2 record, Connecticut did score 10 goals in the past two games.
Goalie Abbie Ives made 20 saves in net to earn the win. She made 19 saves on Tuesday night in a 3-0 shutout over Buffalo in Milford.
The mid-week series was a result of a pair of games in November postponed when the Beauts couldn’t travel to Connecticut safely due to a blizzard in the Buffalo area.
“We definitely needed those six points this week,” Marchment said. “That is the most important thing but obviously when the goals start to come, it is a taste of what we’re all about and all the skill we have on the team. It’s been a bit of a tough start but this is a big confidence boost for us and we have to keep rolling into the weekend.”
With a season-high seven goals, Connecticut (6-5-1) moved over the .500 mark for the first time since early December when they were 2-1-1.
“For us, it is just consistency, playing three periods and putting 60 minutes together,” Connecticut’s Melissa Samoskevich, who scored her third goal of the season. “We’re not perfect at it yet but we don’t have to perfect yet. It is the end of the season that matters. We have to make it to the end of the season so we have to figure it out.”
While the PHF’s playoff format has not yet been announced., the Whale know that they need to move up in the standings to secure a spot in the post-season tournament.
“Any sweep is a good sweep,” Marchment said. “Those points are points we need, especially if we want to make the playoffs this year. We just focused on one shift at a time and it paid off for us.”
After the Whale took a 4-0 lead in the first period, Buffalo battled back. Goals from Claudia Kepler in the second and third period reduced a four-goal deficit to one.
But Connecticut responded quickly. Thirty-six seconds after Kepler scored, it was a wide-open Marchment, who ripped a shot over Buffalo goalie Tera Hofmann to extend the Whale’s lead to 5-3.
Fifty-six seconds later, the Whale scored again when defenseman Hannah Bates jumped on a rebound in the crease and tapped it past Hofmann to make the lead 6-3.
Marchment added an empty net goal with 1:01 remaining for her first PHF hat trick.
Connecticut dominated right out of the gate with Samoskevich scoring with just 1:41 gone in the game off a feed from Justine Reyes. Janka Hlinka made it 2-0 off feeds from Marchment and Amanda Conway. Marchment made it 3-0 with 8:28 remaining in the first period, tapping a pass from Tori Horwan.
Reyes had a power play goal with 6:28 left in the first period for a 4-0 lead.
Connecticut beat Buffalo for the seventh consecutive game, dating back to the 2021 season.
The Whale (9-1-2) head to Toronto for a weekend series with the Six beginning on Saturday.
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On Tuesday, the PHF announced that five Connecticut Whale players have been selected to play in the PHF’s All-Star weekend on Sunday, January 29 in Toronto.
Forward Taylor Girard and Ives will be on Team USA with Marchment on Team Canada and Kateřina Mrázová and Lenka Serdar selected to play on the International team.
A total of 45 players have been selected and divided into three teams consisting of 15 American, Canadian and international players on Team World.
Each round-robin game will consist of two seven-minute periods with each team getting four skaters on the ice. Canada will play the U.S. in the first game with the winner facing Team World in game two and the loser facing Team World in game three.
The two teams with the best records after the round-robin round play for the title with two eight-minute periods with four-on-four.
Connecticut 7, Buffalo 3
Buffalo (1-9-2) 1 1 1 — 3
Connecticut (6-5-1) 4 0 3 — 7
Connecticut 1, Melissa Samoskevich (Justine Reyes), 1:42; Connecticut 2, Janka Hlinka (Kennedy Marchment), 6:54; Connecticut 3, Kennedy Marchment (Tori Horwan); Connecticut 4, Justin Reyes (Katerina Mrazova, Caitlin Lonergan), 13:32 (pp), Buffalo 1, Summer Rae Dobson (Mikyla Grant-Mentis), 19:54; Penalties -Melissa Samoskevich (CT), tripping, 11:47
Buffalo 2, Claudia Kepler (Jessica Healey), 15:45; Penalties – Caitrin Lonergan (CT), cross checking, 2:03; Katerina Mrazova (CT) cross checking, 7:31; Lonergan (CT) tripping, 14:15
Buffalo 3, Claudia Kepler (Emma Nuutinen), 7:13; Connecticut 5, Kennedy Marchment (Allie Munroe, Caitrin Lonergan), 7:51; Connecticut 6, Hannah Bates (Justine Reyes, Katerina Mrazova), 8:56; Connecticut 7, Kennedy Marchment, 18:59 (empty net); Penalties – Summer Rae Dobson (B) hooking, 12:37; Shannon Turner (CT) hooking, 17:28; Grace Klienbach (B) slashing, 19:31
Saves: Tera Hofmann, Buffalo 42 saves (L, 1-2); Abbie Ives, Connecticut 20 saves (W 4-3); Power plays: Buffalo 1-5, Connecticut 1-2; Shots: Buffalo 23 (5-11-7), Connecticut 49 (15-18-16)
Premier Hockey Federation
Standings as of January 18, 2023
Connecticut 3, Buffalo 0
Connecticut 7, Buffalo 3
Connecticut at Toronto, 2 p.m.
Boston at Montreal, 3 p.m.
Metropolitan at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Connecticut at Toronto, 2 p.m.
Boston at Montreal, 1 p.m.
Metropolitan at Buffalo, 1 p.m.
|Teams earn 3 points for a win in regulation and 2 points for a win in OT or shootout. Teams earn 1 point for a loss in OT or the shootout.|