Well, at least it wasn’t a shutout. Also, even though she got two assists in the game, Kelly Babstock didn’t score either. So they still haven’t been burned by an ex-player. But I will dispense with the humor here. The Whale once again played a really tough game against the Beauts last night. However, this time the score reflects that; as the final yesterday was 3-1. There was good action for both teams, and the goalies played really well. It was All Star Meeri Räisänen for the Whale and her All Star teammate Shannon Szabados for the Beauts.
In the first period, the Whale had some early power plays as Kelly Babstock was sent to the box twice before the seven minute mark of the first. However, even with the early advantage, the Whale couldn’t muster much in the way of offense. That was evidenced, as the Whale are officially credited with two shots on goal in the first. Everything looked like it would be a tie heading into the first intermission, but just before the end of the first, the Beauts Julianna Iafallo scored. With that goal, the teddy bears came flying on the ice.
In the second period, Buffalo got off to a good start getting a goal at the two minute mark. This goal came from Hayley Scamurra. This would be Scamurra’s fourth goal against the Whale this season, and her seventh point in the three games played. With a little over half of the period played, the Whale would get one back. The captain Emily Fluke scooped up the puck and rounded the circle in the offensive zone and she took a shot which was deflected in front and off the deflection, it got by Szabados. Who got the goal? Why, none other than Katerina Mrázová of course. She was in the right place to get this goal. It would be her sixth goal of the year, and her fifth in the last four games.
Not much happened in the third period. Both teams did trade chances; however it would be Buffalo getting the insurance marker. At the halfway mark of the period, a goal that came from Emily Janiga, which would be her first tally on the year. After that goal, the Beauts cruised on for the win.
Not a ton to write home about in this game. The Beauts simply played a better, grittier style in their defensive zone, despite the fact that before the game, the Beauts relieved their head coach and their GM of their job. Their style of defense held the Whale to 11 shots on goal through the whole game. That’s a lot like the first game that these two teams played this season, when the Beauts held Connecticut to 10 shots all game.
The penalty kill was once again good. I’ve said it a lot this season, but I really think that the penalty kill has been the best thing about the Whale all season long. The commitment to blocking shots and keeping teams to the outside, making the saves easier for Räisänen. Also, they have been doing a really good job getting the pucks out of the zone on every penalty kill. The Whale did an exceptional job staying out of the box and the penalty kill was perfect yet again. They stymied the Beauts and made them go 0 for 2 on their power play. This pushes their PK percentage up to 96% which is league leading and absolutely insane.
Also quick note, making her Whale debut was former Beauts defender Colleen Murphy. She played really well, registering a shot on goal and was a -1 in the game. Definitely looking forward to the veteran presence that she will bring to the Whale blue line.
3 Stars of the Game
Meeri Räisänen: She made 32 saves in the losing effort, however; she came up big when she needed to and kept the Whale in the game. Cause let’s be honest, it could have been a whole lot worse.
Emily Fluke: Tallying the primary assist on the Mrázová goal, she was leading the way in the offensive zone. (I actually thought the goal was her’s) She was tied with Mrázová in shots on goal in the game with two.
Katerina Mrázová: She got another goal. It’s crazy how well she’s been playing all season long. As stated above, it’s her team leading sixth goal on the year and her fifth in the last four games.
Here is the boxscore of the game:
The While will have some time off, but their next game will be just before the new year; December 30th at home in Stamford, Connecticut against the Boston Pride. The game will be at 3p at Terry Conners Rink.
Happy Holidays Whale Fans!