Now in her fourth season playing, fifth overall, with the Buffalo Beauts, there’s no argument that Taylor Accursi has become the face of the franchise. She may not have her name on the Isobel Cup (yet) but no one has been more synonymous with those powder blue jerseys than no. 95.
Accursi entered this season stuck on 42 career points (26g-16a) since March 1, 2020, after sitting out last season due to her commitment as an officer for the Ontario Provincial Police. It took all of two and a half periods for the 26-year-old sniper to break the tie with Kourtney Kunichika and Corinne Buie. Three games into the season she’s up to 45 points (27g-18a) in 55 career games.
If you read this week’s Around The Rink you may remember the upcoming quote. After the long layoff, was there ever any possibility that Accursi could have or would have signed with Toronto (aka the PHF team that plays in her home province), or does she ‘bleed Beauts blue?’
“I knew this was going to be a question!,” Buffalo’s co-captain exclaimed with a laugh. “I’ve put so much time into the Beauts, and I’m a Beaut. Yeah, it’s a 90-minute ride to practice after a 12 or 13-hour shift, and Toronto is probably only about 30-35 minutes away. But the drive doesn’t matter. I’m there for my teammates, my coaches, my organization, it's not about me. I’m a Beaut and we’ll leave it at that. I bleed Beauts blue.”
Following the Beauts' second game of the season - a two-assist performance in a come-from-behind win over the Riveters - we were able to catch up with Accursi for five questions in five minutes, and here’s how it went.
The Ice Garden: How tough was it to not be a part of last season?
Taylor Accursi: You know what, I’ve been a part of this organization for some time now, and to not be able to get the green light to play with my teammates last year - it sucked. Especially considering I wanted to be there, I wanted to help the team, was on the brink of a milestone. Ultimately it sucked for me to be in a position where I was told I wouldn’t be able to play because of my profession. That being said, everything happens for a reason and it gave me a year to prepare and come back stronger to help this team this year, to try and do something special.
TIG: Was it doubly tough because your sister Hunter was on the Beauts last season, too?
TA: Having Hunter there was something I definitely didn’t want to miss out on, and I knew it was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; unfortunately that opportunity didn’t happen. Just because of our schedules, it would be tough to foresee it happening in the future. It sucked, but I cheered her on as much as I could from home and face-timed with her after games.
TIG: You mentioned the milestone earlier, which you achieved right away in the first game of the season - becoming the Beauts’ franchise leader in career points. The last time I saw you in person was actually in New Jersey against the Riveters at the end of Season 5 when you just missed out on getting that point. And you were noticeably upset after the game, which to me reinforced what I already knew - that this team, this game means so much to you.
Then you have the long, unplanned layoff - but in the first game of the season, in front of your home fans, you are able to get that record out of the way.
TA: As I said, everything happens for a reason and I wasn’t supposed to get it that season. Yeah, I had to wait a while. Everyone says this is my fifth season, but it's really my fourth season playing. At the end of the day, yeah I was happy to get it. But, I want a Cup. I want to be able to have my name on that Cup and do bigger, and better, things for this league. One step at a time, I got the record, now it’s onto the next goal.
TIG: The Beauts created an award this offseason for a really big fan of yours and the team, who sadly passed away earlier this year - the Deb Cresanti Award. How much does that mean to you? I feel like these are the types of things that will truly leave a lasting legacy in the community there.
At the end of this season, and every Beauts season, the award will be voted on by the team captains and given to the player most actively invloved in the Western New York community.
In memory of our good friend @sponge444, the #Beauts have established the Debra A. Cresanti Memorial Award, which will be awarded annually.— Buffalo Beauts (@BuffaloBeauts) May 4, 2021
We really miss you, Deb
: https://t.co/ZzAGteUUII#FortBeaut #NWHL pic.twitter.com/Q3goRygfdp
TA: Absolutely. So Deb Cresanti, she was one of our biggest fans, and one of my biggest fans - was at every practice, every game whether it was home or away - you would always see her in the stands. Her loss was a very emotional time for our organization, and it gives us something a little extra to play for. We have a plaque at our rink to honor her memory and continue her legacy with the Buffalo Beauts.
TIG: This franchise has been in the Final four times, won the Cup once. How do the 2021-22 Beauts win the Isobel Cup?
TA: We have a team that is unlike any other team that I’ve ever been a part of in my past seasons here. We have a lot of people that bring a lot of different things to the table and you can insert different players anywhere in our lineup. We’re a lot more dynamic and I think if everybody just plays like we know we can, believes in themselves and what they’re really good at, and in each other - then I predict a very strong season from us.