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Beauts move into tie for first by winning home finale

The Metropolitan Riveters managed to keep the Buffalo Beauts points leaders off the score sheet but there others to take care of business on Saturday at Harborcenter.

Kelly Babstock scored the game’s first goal, Taylor Accursi tallied the game winner and Emily Janiga scored twice for the Beauts in their 4-1 victory over the defending Isobel Cup champions.

The win left Buffalo (10-4) in a tie for first place with the Minnesota Whitecaps and Boston Pride for first place in the National Women’s Hockey League.

Babstock got things started for Buffalo with her goal, her third of the season, off a rebound at 15:21 of the first period. Julianna Iafallo assisted.

Accursi made it 2-0 with her fifth, scoring unassisted at 4:19 of the second, and Janiga made it 3-0 with her first of the game of a rebound at 12:36 of the same period. Before Janiga’s goal, the Riveters had to kill a lengthy power play including 1:19 of 5 on 3.

Metro’s Rebecca Russo scored at 6:24 of the third with teams skating four aside. Janiga got her second of the game, into an empty net, with 1:39 left in the game. The goals were Janiga’s third and fourth of the season and gave her five points.

Maddie Elia the league goals leader with 11 and Hayley Scamurra the points leader with nine goals and 10 assists for 19 did not register a point for Buffalo, which is rare.

The loss dropped the Riveters to 3-12 on the season.

Shannon Szabados had 15 saves for Buffalo. She lowered her goals-against average to 1.33 and increased her saves percentage to .943 in 13 starts.

Katie Fitzgerald of the Riveters had 33 stops in a stalwart effort.

It was the final regular season home game for Buffalo which was 6-0 on home ice this season. Buffalo has two road games remaining, at the Connecticut Whale in Stamford, Conn. next Saturday and against the Riveters the next day in Newark, N.J.

If the Beauts win their final two games, they stand a good chance of finishing first and hosting a semifinal of the NWHL Isobel Cup. Boston plays at Connecticut today and has very important home game against Minnesota next Saturday. In addition to the Boston game, the Whitecaps play at Connecticut next Sunday.

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