If you’re going to defend a championship, hire a former NHL standout goaltender as a coach, steal the leading scorer from a rival league, and make the only three-peat pro champion your captain.
It sounds obvious, but the Buffalo Beauts are the only team to have done so, and they are already off to a great start, defending their undefeated season at Bill Gray’s Ice Complex in Rochester, NY on November 4.
At the outset, let’s be clear about one thing: Buffalo’s last opponent, the Connecticut Whale, are going through some growing pains. The newly named Metropolitan Riveters are not, and also enter the game with a 1-0 record. The Riveters’ revamped team is fast and powerful, and will be a good early test for the Beauts as they play their first game in WNY this year.
Here’s what you need to know:
They’re saying Buie, not Booooooooooo-y – Corinne Buie was named the team’s captain for obvious reasons. The stalwart forward has found quite a home in Buffalo, and matching her with former CWHL linemates Jess Jones and Rebecca Vint will certainly prove fruitful for the Beauts. Buie is equal parts sniper and playmaker, and has unrivaled vision on the ice. She came to the forefront in Buffalo last year after escaping the overloaded Boston roster, and with the diaspora of the national team, will certainly be among the league’s leading scorers this season.
Wingardium Leveille-sa – The Beauts’ diminutive goaltender enters the season as the definitive starter after playing 1A to Brianne McLaughlin’s 1 last season. In her first action with the team in the preseason, she faced over 50 shots, made the opponent look silly for bothering to shoot at times, and took a penalty for raging. Which is to say, Lev appears to be in midseason form.
Buffa-low down – What would a Beauts team be without a solid contingent of native Buffalonians locking things down? Hayley Scamurra and Maddie Elia spent the preseason physically dominating the opposition. Jacquie Greco has found herself on Buffalo’s top pairing, playing a lot of time with alternate captain Sarah Edney, who came to the team from the Markham (nee Brampton) Thunder. Both Edney and Greco are fast and great in transition, both will be key to Buffalo’s success this year.
Respect the rookies – Buffalo’s first-year players have combined for three goals already this year; only one other rookie has scored through the first set of games for the league. Veteran leadership has been the hallmark of the Beauts in their first two seasons, but this year, expect the rookies to keep that goal light flashing like a haunted house strobe.
TL;DR – Buie is great. Lev is ready. Buffalo Rocks. Prepare for a Frosh onslaught. Pun game still strong.