For a couple of Beauts players, coming to Minnesota for All-Star Weekend was a sort of homecoming. For others, it was an exciting venture into uncharted territory.
Either way, eight of them got to make the trip out to St. Paul Feb. 11-12 and represent their team in front of a new crowd of potential fans. A couple of them even managed to steal the show a bit from their counterparts.
Let’s take a look at how each of the players fared.
The captain of her eponymous team, Leveille had a great showing in front of a familiar crowd. She won each of her rounds against rival Brittany Ott in the Fastest Goalie contest, including the round that proved to be the tiebreaker for the Skills Showdown. Sunday’s first half was a good one, as she stopped 20 of the 23 shots she faced, including a few clutch ones with Team Ott bearing down on her.
On rival captain Brittany Ott scoring on her in the Breakaway Challenge: “Yeah, I saw [her] coming down and was like, ‘Well, we’ve already lost this, might as well have some fun.’ We had a good laugh, she got a goal, probably the first of her career.”
On her connection to Minnesota: “I got to play for the Gophers, so to come back and play another game is phenomenal. I hope the league can expand, I think Minnesota is the perfect environment for it. Everybody in Minnesota, whether they play or they know somebody who plays, loves hockey, so they’d definitely be able to support a team.”
Buie had a solid Skills Showdown, including winning the Shooting Accuracy contest with all four targets hit in five attempts for a total time of 12.6 seconds; at least five seconds better than anyone else on the board. In the All-Star Game Buie scored two goals; one late in the first half, the other within the first few minutes of the second.
On the league potentially moving to her home state: “I think I see that definitely in the future, we’ll see how long it takes, but I know that the league has had a lot of growth already in the first three years, so… it’s bound to happen, it’s just a matter of when.”
Jordyn Burns, Lisa Chesson, Sarah Edney
The All-Star Game is mainly a time for offense and forwards to shine, but that doesn’t mean the blueliners can’t have an impact. This trio combined for nine shots on goal Sunday, Edney leading the way with four of her own, and Chesson had three assists on the day. They also played very well on the back end, especially in front of Beauts teammate Leveille (which was bound to happen). Burns also participated in the Shooting Accuracy competition and hit two targets before time ran out.
Chesson on the importance of young players seeing the NWHL, from a coach’s perspective (she coached a AAA girls’ program in Columbus for two years): “I never thought there would be pro hockey. For me it was just college and then maybe the National Team… so [seeing this is] super important and it’s huge for youth players. You can instill that confidence in them early.”
Lewicki had a nice run in her first-ever All-Star weekend, winning the Fastest Skater contest for Team Leveille (13.41 seconds) and starting the scoring off for the All-Star Game. She showed off her speed and ability to cut to the net on multiple occasions throughout the game.
On being a rookie and being chosen as an All-Star: “It was pretty overwhelming at first, but I think once I got here and got to know all the girls.. It kind of calmed me down and it just became fun. I just enjoyed every moment.”
Scamurra was one of the strongest players in Sunday’s game, with three goals on the day (on five shots on goal!). She was one of the co-MVPs along with Kelsey Koelzer of the Metropolitan Riveters, wowing the crowd with her strength on the puck and her shot — which, speaking of, she also showed off at the Skills Competition, clocking shots in the high 60s and low 70s (that’s miles per hour).
On chirping with her Beauts teammates: “Oh yeah, [that happened] for sure. Lev told me not to score on her [before the game]. I didn’t listen.”
On her MVP win alongside Kelsey Koelzer: “That was just the cherry on top of a great weekend, for sure. It was fun to share it with her. She played amazing, so she definitely deserved it.”
Vint participated in the Shooting Accuracy contest for Team Leveille and hit her four targets in about 30 seconds. She didn’t record a point in Sunday’s game (two SOG) but she was thrilled to have her first All-Star experience for the NWHL come as a surprise.
On getting picked to replace Janine Weber: “It felt pretty good. I watched the draft happen and, you know, I know myself, I can compete at that level, so, when I didn’t see my name I was a little disappointed. But that call definitely made things better.”