There’s no easy way to say that the Buffalo Beauts have been on the struggle bus going up a steep incline over the past three seasons. They’ve been unable to shake the moniker of being the PHF’s lovable losers and have won a total of nine out of 34 total games. But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been amazing performances amid the frequent heartbreak and frustration.
For goaltender Lovisa Berndtsson, she’s battled her ass off and oftentimes had to face a multitude and barrage of quality, high-danger chances - sometimes even got left high and dry by the group in front of her. When I caught up with her recently after a game in Connecticut she was still in good spirits despite the onslaught of shots she had been facing throughout some tough losses.
But through it all, she’s been steadfast, and unflappable, and keeps giving her team a chance to win. If not for Berndtsson’s amazing saves, passion, and steely determination, those scores could have been a lot worse. As one of the elder players in the PHF, perhaps that calmness in the Beauts' net comes from all of the experiences she has been through prior to joining this league.
“I’m feeling pretty good. It’s just taking care of your body so it can do it. I’m 34-years-old and a goalie, so, of course, it’s sore, but it’s working,” she said with a smile when I asked how she was feeling after playing three games over four days.
“As you say I’ve been playing for a long time and I’ve had some adversity in my career. I’ve been working really hard with my mental strength and being able to bounce back if I’ve had a tough game,” the Swedish netminder explained. “Even with the result on Saturday, I was still pretty happy with my performance. So Sunday I felt like I had nothing to lose and that I would just build off of that.”
I am not the first to say this but there are real problems with the defense of the Buffalo Beauts. You can't ask your goalies to face this many high-danger chances from unchecked players and this many rushes. I don't know what more Berndtsson, Hofmann, and Sauvé can do.— Mike Murphy (@DigDeepBSB) January 22, 2023
Over her last five appearances, she’s faced at least 31 shots in each game. This past weekend the Beauts finally returned home after being beaten up and battered in Boston and Connecticut, and Berndtsson finally picked up her first win in the PHF in 11 tries when she made 41 saves while backstopping Buffalo to a 4-1 triumph, and just their second of the PHF season.
“It can be hard when the pucks go in, and you don’t get the saves you want, but I always try to look at the situation,” she explained to us. “Some goals, I can blame myself for, but some goals - it's not on me. So you try to look at the situations individually and see what I can do better for the next game, but also look at what I did well and take the positive stuff into that next game.”
I found it very impressive that in the second game in Boston, after the Beauts were blown out, embarrassed, and two players and their Head Coach were suspended for the rematch - Berndtsson and the remaining active four defenders played a great game. They could’ve easily folded and let the Pride run over them, but instead, they came away with a 2-1 overtime loss where Allie Thunstrom netted both goals. That’s literally happened to every team in the league since Thundy’s been here, so nothing to be ashamed of there!
Lovisa Berndtsson absolutely robs Dempsey! pic.twitter.com/Dqle9Y6fhm— PHF (@PHF) January 15, 2023
“We communicated a lot. I tried to do my job and cover the puck as much as I could so they could get some rest,” Berndtsson revealed, giving us an insight into how teams approach the shorthanded-for-a-game situation. “I think we came out really strong on Sunday and I felt like everybody understood what we had to do and did the best job we could with the lineup we had.”
Due to their games in Connecticut being postponed earlier in the season, the Beauts had to play two games in the Nutmeg state during the week and were just one day removed from getting swept in Boston. Berndtsson said not much changed in their preparations, and at least for the first game vs. the Whale, the Beauts looked like a competitive team.
“Everything was the same for us. We had our pre-scouting and then it was up to every player to do what they need to do to perform the best they can. We play at 7 pm on Saturdays too, so yes, it's a lot of games, but everyone is doing what they need to do to take care of their bodies,” the Beauts goalie said.
“We have a lot of games in a few days, and they are against some of the top teams, so of course it's going to be tough. We just have to do our best to take care of our bodies.”
With another Beauts’ season, unfortunately, spiraling out of control, one of the silver linings for their fanbase is the performances and grace that ‘Lollo’ has provided them. You’d be hard-pressed to find a player who cares more, so here’s hoping she can pick up a few more wins before their season ends.