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Elia, Scamurra lead Beauts sweep of NWHL major awards

Western New York natives Maddie Elia and Hayley Scamurra led a Buffalo Beauts sweep of the National Women's Hockey League awards for the 2018-19 season. The awards were announced Monday.

Elia was honored as the league's most valuable player by a vote of a panel of 20 broadcasters and reporters in cooperation with the Women's Hockey Media Association.

Scamurra was honored with the first NWHL Players' Association Top Player of the Year Award.

In addition, the Beauts' Blake Bolden was named NWHL Defender of the Year and Buffalo's Shannon Szabados was NWHL Goaltender of the year.

Elia, who is from Lewiston, was named MVP over finalists Jonna Curtis of the Minnesota Whitecaps, Amanda Kessel of the Metropolitan Rivers, Gigi Marvin of the Boston Pride and goalie Meeri Raisanen of the Connecticut Whale.

Elia, a former Nichols School and Boston University standout, led the league with 12 goals in 16 regular-season games and had 19 points overall. She had seven multi-point games including a four-point performance in a 4-0 win over Minnesota on Dec. 30. Elia played on a line with Scamurra and Dani Cameranesi, which was considered the most dangerous in the league.

"My teammates are so important to me and obviously the hard work of our entire team is the reason for any success that I experienced," Elia said in a news release. "It was a great step forward for myself personally and I feel that the work I put in to round out my game worked out in a positive way."

Scamurra, who also went to Nichols and played four seasons at Northeastern University, led the league with 20 points (10-10-20) in 16 regular-season games. The Williamsville native posted five multi-point performances, including a pair of four-point outings. She netted two game-winning goals and finished the season with a plus-16 rating.

"This has been such a memorable year for me and to be honored with this award means so much," Scamurra said. "My Beauts family pushed me to get better every day and my teammates made such a personal impact this season. I want to thank them all, especially my line mates for making this such a fun season."

The was Bolden's first season with the Beauts. She paired with WNY native Emily Pfalzer to form a solid defensive pair. Previously, the former Boston College star played with the Boston Pride. She returned to the NWHL this year with Buffalo after playing overseas.

The other finalists for defender of the year were Minnesota’s Lee Stecklein and Amanda Boulier.

Szabados was playing her first season in the NWHL after playing college hockey in Canada, junior hockey in Canada, in men's professional leagues, for Team Canada in the Olympics and other international competition.

With goalie partner Nicole Hensley, Buffalo had a combined 1.49 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage. The Beauts tied for the league lead with two shutouts and allowed the fewest goals (25) in 17 games. Other finalists for the goaltender award were Katie Burt of Boston and Raisanen of Connecticut.

"What a wild ride my career continues to be. So thankful that the Buffalo Beats, the WNHL and for 10-plus years Hockey Canada has allowed me to play my skate size instead of my age," Szabados said." I am so fortunate to be a part of this beautiful game. Thank you to everyone that's been a part of my journey."


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