The Buffalo Beauts will break their feast this weekend as they head to Beantown for game five of the 2017-18 season. With a quarter of the regular season behind them, the Beauts are even-steven at 2-2. Four games in, there are some identifiable tendencies with the team, and hopefully coaches Ric Seiling and Craig Muni were able to combat those tropes over the Thanksgiving break and give the Pride a new set of problems for Saturday night’s game.
It’s an important game for Buffalo from many standpoints. Boston has yet to win a game, though the team was able to steal a point from Connecticut two weeks ago. To give the Pride their first win would certainly be damaging to the Beauts’s ego. Also, after a disappointing loss to the Riveters, Buffalo needs to get back onto the better side of .500.
Here’s what you need to know:
USA scooped Skarupa: Boston’s leading scorer is now a member of Team USA’s centralization roster. After a successful run at the 2017 World Championships, it was a surprise that Skarupa was left off the list in the first place, but now that she’s almost kind of officially heading to the Olympics, the Pride are worse without her.
Skarupa leads the league in shots, and is the only Pride player with more than two goals. Even with the team failing to click into place around the leader, Boston will certainly struggle to replace her.
You Mad(die) bro?: Power forward Maddie Elia will not dress for Saturday’s game after her suspension was announced earlier this week. In a rough shift against the Riveters, Elia whacked defender Kelsey Koelzer twice. The league reviewed the series of swipes and decided she had taken the already high physicality a bit too far.
Elia is the third Beaut to be suspended from what has become one of the most heated rivalries in sports. It’s a big loss for Buffalo as she and Hayley Scamurra had found a fantastic mentor in Kourtney Kunichika, and the line has been Buffalo’s best over the last two games.
With Elia out of the lineup, we may see the Adrian Trio reunited once again. Shureb, Schroka, and Lewicki are a fast and dynamic line. If they can maintain the speed and aggression for the whole game, they will undoubtedly make Boston pay.
Fully Completely: Buffalo’s been outscored in the third period 6-1 over the last two games. Addressing this issue after the loss to the Rivs, Sieling told the media, “I felt the turning point was their conditioning over ours. It’s something we need to address.
“As the season goes on, we’re going to dress the players that can play 60 minutes,” he insisted.
This will be a good test for Buffalo. They need to prove they can play for a full game and Boston is a great place to start.
It’s Buffalo/Boston rivalry week: Beauts vs Pride, Bills vs Pats. At least one of our teams has a good chance of bringing home the W. Tune in to NWHL.zone at 7:30 on Saturday and watch the Beauts take down the Pride in game five.