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Buffalo Beauts advance to women’s hockey championship

After six straight losses to Connecticut during the National Women’s Hockey league regular season, the chances of the Buffalo Beauts getting past the Whale in the first round of playoffs did not look good – especially in a best-of-three series on the Whale’s ice.

The Beauts upset all that Sunday with a 4-3 victory at Chelsea Piers Connecticut in Stamford and advanced to next weekend’s Isobel Cup final series against the Boston Pride in Newark, N.J.

Defenseman Megan Bozek scored her second goal of the game, short-handed, with 1:14 left for the winning goal in the finale of the best-of-three semifinals. Bozek had opened the scoring on a shot from the point at 8:33 of the first period but Kelli Stack tied it at 13:29.

Buffalo regained the lead when Hailey Brown, following up a rush by Devon Skeats, knocked in a rebound with just 0:01 left in the second period.

Boston tied it again on Kally Babstock’s tally at 5:51 of the third, but the Beauts answered when Kourtney Kunichika scored with the rebound of Kelly McDonald’s shot from the left circle at 14:33.

When Paige Harrington of the Beauts received an interference minor with 2:41 left in regulation Buffalo’s lead was in jeopardy, but Bozek scored instead to make it 4-2. Babstock got her second with 43 seconds left but the Whale couldn’t get the equalizer past Buffalo goalie Brianne McLaughlin, who had 24 saves.