If there were a worse-case scenario for the Buffalo Beauts’ season so far, this would probably be it. After a good start, the team has dropped three straight, and are occupying third place by the slimmest of margins – tiebreakers.
This matchup that will take place on Saturday afternoon is the tiebreaker to end all tiebreakers, as the Beauts will face basement dwellers the Connecticut Whale for the ultimate prize: a chance to not be the worst team in the league as the holiday break approaches.
Here’s what you need to know:
Momma, I’m comin’ home: IT’S THE TWITTER GAME OF THE WEEK! Come on out and support the team – fill the stands for the international cameras that will be trained on our Beaut-iful barn. It’s also the team’s Teddy Bear Toss event, so be sure to bring a furry companion to help provide gifts to Gold Star Families.
From a hockey standpoint, Buffalo has played well in their first two home games – matchups that include a win against Boston and a loss to the Riveters. The team is better at generating shots for the hometown crowd, and limit costly turnovers, too. If it weren’t for those pesky third periods…
Stick like glue: A Beauts Essentials referencing weak third periods? Hasn’t this horse suffered enough postmortem bashing? Perhaps. However, it bears repeating. In Buffalo’s last home game, the team took a 3-3 tie into the third before letting the Rivs net three straight, losing 6-3. On Dec 10, the team had a 2-1 lead on Metropolitan at the second intermission, and still lost 4-2.
Something has to give. The team is too good to keep dying in the final frame. It is a roster that is STACKED with scoring talent – something that coaches Ric Sieling and Craig Muni spoke about frequently in the preseason. Hopefully the home ice and international stage will spark some late-burning fire.
Blueline blitz: The Beauts have three defenders on the roster who spent some time at forward last season. They are a team that has perpetually strategized offensive defensewomen. It is quite a surprise, then, that in six games, the defense has accounted for only one goal.
In a piece earlier in the week, 716 Sports Podcast highlighted a diminished defensive shot rate. In fact, the only defender to have scored (Sarah Edney) is the only blueliner with double-digit shots on goal.
There are a lot of factors that lead to this result. One is that Buffalo hasn’t been great at keeping the puck in the offensive zone. A lot of the team’s goals have come on the rush, or very soon after a zone entry. The Beauts do spend a lot of time in the defensive zone, which means as soon as the puck clears, the blue line is changing, and the puck is probably headed back into the defensive zone very soon.
Possession. Shots. This is how the Riveters win, and it’s how good hockey teams win. The Beauts’ overall play – especially in the third period – would be boosted by an uptick in defensive contributions.
Come join us on Saturday as 716 Sports Podcast brings you the Twitter Game of the Week. If you can’t make it to the game, be sure to tune in on Saturday at 1:30.
We’re also working to bring you women’s hockey news on a broader level. Join us on Snapchat for video updates and answers to your questions!