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Beauts post shutout to advance to Isobel Cup final

Behind the shutout goaltending of Shannon Szabados, the Buffalo Beauts assured themselves of a place in the National Women’s Hockey League Isobel Cup finals for the fourth consecutive season with a 4-0 victory over the Boston Pride on Saturday night at Harborcenter.

The only question is whether the championship game will be at Harborcenter or in St. Paul, Minn., next week. It depends on the outcome of Sunday’s semifinal between defending champion Metropolitan Riveters and regular season champion Minnesota Whitecaps at TRIA Rink in St. Paul.

The Beauts would not mind a home game, given that they are 8-0 on home ice this season.

“It was amazing. They picked up where they left off,” Szabados told reporters of the home fans. “The atmosphere was incredible and it gave us the extra boost.”

The Beauts, winners of eight of their last nine, will attempt to win their second Isobel Cup. The other came in 2017.

Szabados turned back 31 Boston shots in coming out on top in a duel with Boston’s Katie Burt, who had 35 saves.

Szabados, a finalist for league Goaltender of the Year and Newcomer of the Year, continued her domination of the Pride. She beat Boston for the fourth time this season and has allowed a total of three goals in those games.

After a scoreless first period, Buffalo got goals from Maddie Elia and Emily Pfalzer in the second period and two more by Emily Janiga and Dani Cameranesi in the third.

Hayley Scamurra had two assists for the Beauts while Cameranesi and Pfalzer helped on goals, too.

Szabados was particularly busy in the third period as the Pride fired 16 shots at her in a desperate effort to get back in the game and prolong its season.

Haley Skarupa had six shots on net, while Jillian Dempsey and Amanda Pelkey had four each for the Pride.

Cameranesi had eight shots for Buffalo while linemates Scamurra and Elia were active on the offensive end, as usual, with six shots each. Pfalzer, a defender, had six shots.

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