Beauts blanked by Fitzgerald, Riveters; lose grip on second place

Too little, too late for the inconsistent Beauts as they fall to the Riveters in their first home game of 2017

A stellar final 10 minutes was not enough for the Beauts to catch up to the Riveters, and they suffered their second shutout loss of the season, 3-0, in Saturday’s game at HarborCenter.

Riveters goalie Katie Fitzgerald made 29 saves, many of them late, as the sputtering Buffalo offense came together too late to make an impact. Michelle Picard, Janine Weber, and Kiira Dosdall each put one up on the board for the Riveters, who now take over second place from the Beauts (10 points to Buffalo’s 9). Overall, it was a disappointing effort from a team still trying to find stability this season.

Harrison Browne highlighted the slow start his team got, compared to the relatively more inspired hockey in the final eight or so minutes of the game.

“We started [the third period] with 18 shots and ended with 29,” he noted. “The desperation we played with at the end — that's what we need to start with.”

That was altogether a fair summation of the kind of game Buffalo played. It was marked by plenty of missed passes, a seeming lack of communication, and more than one Riveters goal from in tight on Brianne McLaughlin (19 saves). Any glimmer of offense was stymied by either a tight Riveters defense or the pads of Fitzgerald. The power play was nonexistent as well, after making up about half the Beauts’ offensive output last week in Connecticut.

There's certainly more to this team than what was shown on the ice Saturday night, and the Beauts will have an extra week to work on showing it once they get back to HarborCenter to face these same Riveters. Shiann Darkangelo said she couldn't pinpoint any one thing the Beauts needed to work on from Saturday’s loss, but finding the game she knows they can play is a requirement for certain.

“We’ve shown in the past that we can communicate, and obviously things have clicked, so it's just one little bump in the road here,” she said.

The Beauts take back to the ice Jan. 27 against New York once more. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m.