CRANBERRY TWP., PA. — Rebecca Vint registered a goal and two assists for the Buffalo Beauts in the teams 4-3 victory over the Connecticut Whale in a National Women’s Hockey League match-up in Cranberry.
“Its always nice to be back at a familiar place,” Vint said. “I love Pittsburgh. I had a great four years. I feel like I got the stress off of my shoulders, its been a slow start to the year. Personally, it was a step in the right direction.”
Vint, the current career goals leader for Robert Morris, had a homecoming on Sunday afternoon at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, a mere 15-mile drive on I-79 from where the forward registered 73 goals over four years.
Connecticut took an early lead on a goal by Emily Fluke, only to have Buffalo respond with a goal by Maddie Elia. Vint started her assault on the scoresheet minutes later when forward Taylor Accursi beat Sydney Rossman on the power-play.
The two teams cooled off during the second and early parts of the third period, when Sam Faber knotted things up at 2 a piece on the power-play. Vint scored her second goal of the campaign seven minutes later, moving cross crease and beating Rossman. The lead lasted only 22 seconds before Meghan Huertas crashed into Amanda Leveilles crease, beating the the netminder and tying the game at three.
Lisa Chesson made Vints second primary assist of the afternoon official at 16:24, and the Beauts held on for the victory.
Colleen Murphy registered her first career point in the affair at the Lemieux Sports Complex in the first period. Murphy joined the Buffalo Beauts prior to the 2017-18 season as a free agent out of Northeastern University and has ties to the western Pennsylvania hockey scene.
Colleen is the older sister of current Colonials senior defender Katherine Murphy. Katherine currently is in a back-and-forth battle for the Colonials career assists lead with junior Maggie LaGue.
Fitting the Murphy mold, the elder Murphy’s first career point was an assist.
SKILLS FOR DAYS
Prior to the game, select players held a pre-game skills workshop for the local developmental players.
“We work closely with the Pens Elite group when we come here,” NWHL Players Association director Anya Battaglino said. “So just working with that crew, Ashley Vesci is a former Beauts player, just working with that close-knit community, the Pens Elite team, and having some time with them was amazing.”
PITTSBURGH: NOT SO NEUTRAL IN THE FUTURE?
After the success of the 2017 skills competition and All-Star game coupled with the neutral site game on Sunday, finding someone who wouldn’t believe that a franchise would work in the local region is a tough task. In the past decade, the thirst for the sport has exponentially grown to a point in which there are multiple developmental leagues for both boys and girls, including the Penguins-sponsored Elite program.
Ears are ringing with the thought of the area’s own professional women’s team.
“I like the illusion, I like the idea,” Battaglino said. “But when we get into it, I think the people are great, the area is great, I think it lends well. It’s such a hockey community. With the Steelers game, we still filled up the stands. Watching people come inside the rink who are excited about women’s hockey. When we tweet about it, and we give them a taste, Pittsburgh just goes bananas. Working with the Penguins is great. That team is so open for ideas and for collaboration, honestly it would be a great spot.”
Only time will tell if the Steel City will land its own NWHL franchise.