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Beauts draft Olympian Megan Keller, Nichols grad Olivia Zafuto

The Beauts have added another Olympic gold medalist, drafting Boston College defenseman Megan Keller with the third overall pick in the National Women's Hockey League Draft.

Keller, 22, played in all five games and has two assists for Team USA in South Korea in the 2018 Winter Olympics. She also has won gold in International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championships in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and was part of the U.S. squad four times in the Four Nations Cup with three firsts and a second.

Keller has nine goals and 13 assists in 19 games at BC this season and is a two-time ACHA All-America first-teamer and two-time Patty Kazmaier Award Top 10 finalist. Last season, she became the first defenseman  to earn the Cammi Granato Award as the Hockey East Player of the Year.

Keller was welcomed to Buffalo by Getzville teammate, Olympic teammate and future Beauts teammate Emily Pfalzer.

In Round 2, the Beauts added Loren Gabel, a forward who has won two NCAA titles with Clarkson University. Gabel was a top three finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Award and was second in the nation in scoring and third in goals in setting single-season school records with 75 points on 36 goals and 39 assists.

This season, she has 14 goals, 18 assists in 16 games.

“Megan has played on the international level with some of the players on our roster. She provides both offense and size to our already-strong defensive core,” General Manager Nik Fatteysaid. “Loren is a dynamic scorer with game-changing ability. As a two-time NCAA champion, she has proven she can perform at a high level in high-pressure situations.”

In the third round, the Beauts selected Jessie Eldridge from Colgate with the 13th overall pick. Eldridge, a forward, from Barrie, Ontario, led Colgate with 22 goals and 45 points last season and led the nation with eight game-winners.

"Such an honour to be drafted by the Buffalo Beauts and could not be more excited for the future!" she tweeted.

In the fourth round and 18th overall, the Beauts selected Niagara Falls native Olivia Zafuto from Colgate. Zafuto is a 2015 Nichols School graduate and played for the Niagara Junior Purple Eagles.

She was third in the nation is scoring last season among defenders with 11 goals and 22 assists and helped the Red Raiders to the national title game. She has two goals and 10 assists in 17 games this season.

“It’ll be awesome to compete against some of the best players in the world," she told the NWHL website. "Having the opportunity to play at such a high level is really exciting. Seeing how far the NWHL has come since it started, it’s cool to be a part of it and continue to grow the game.”

The Beauts have eight Nichols graduates currently on the roster: Julia DiTondo (Class of 2012, Maddie Elia (2013), Jacquie Greco (2009), Julianna Iafallo (2014), Emily Janiga (2012), Pfalzer  (2011),  Hayley Scamurra (2013) and Annika Zalewski (2014).

The Beauts finished the draft by selecting Nicole Schammel from Minnesota in the fifth round, 23rd overall. She has six goal and 19 assists in 20 games this season. As a junior, she tied for second on the team with 32 points (17 goals and 15 assists) in 38 games.

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