Backstopped by a 30-save performance by Shannon Szabados, the Buffalo Beauts jumped into close contention for the National Women’s Hockey League regular-season championship Saturday with a 5-0 whitewashing of the Boston Pride at HarborCenter.
Dani Cameranesi scored twice and Kelly Babstock had a goal and an assist and put 10 shots on net as Buffalo snapped Boston’s four-game win streak. The Pride (7-3-0) are tied for first with Minnesota Whitecaps (7-3-0) in the NWHL. They will meet Saturday in Boston.
With wins in four of the last five games and two of three against the Pride, Buffalo (6-4-0), is two points behind the leaders. The Beauts next will face the Metropolitan Riveters on Saturday at HarborCenter.
Despite the five-goal margin, the game did not start easily for the Beauts. After a scoreless opening period when Buffalo outshot the Pride, 19-10, the Beauts had to kill off a 5-minute major penalty and lost defender Emily Pfalzer, who drew the major and game misconduct for checking from behind with 16:34 left in the second period.
“That was pretty intense,” Beauts defender Blake Bolden said. “We knew we had to kill it. Once we killed that, I think we took the momentum of the game.”
After Szabados held off the Boston power play, Babstock broke the scoreless duel with an even-strength goal at 14:29 with Bolden assisting.
Then, Emily Janiga scored on a power play for the Beauts with 5 seconds left in the second period. Babstock assisted.
Buffalo scored three even-strength goals in the third. Savannah Harmon scored at 6:12 with Julianna Iafallo assisting then Cameranesi finished if off with goals at 8:05 and 10:40. Maddie Elia had assists on each and Hayley Scamurra had the primary assist on the final goal.
“It was important,” Babstock said. “Every game is important to us. We’re excited to keep building for next weekend for the Riveters.”
Szabados had 12 saves in the middle period and eight in the third.