1 p.m. vs. Buffalo at Tria Rink
Whitecaps hope to continue trend
Preview: In its previous three seasons, the NWHL crowned three different champions, a trend the Whitecaps would like to continue as they seek the title in their first season as a member. They finished 12-4 in the regular season to claim the top seed for the playoffs and have won their past six games, including a 5-1 victory in Friday’s playoff semifinal against the Metropolitan Riveters. The 2017 Isobel Cup champions, Buffalo (11-4-1) reached the final with a 4-0 victory over Boston last Saturday. The Beauts, who have won 10 of their past 12 games, have the league’s top two scorers — Hayley Scamurra and Maddie Elia — and a pair of standout Olympic goalies in Canada’s Shannon Szabados and Nicole Hensley of the U.S. The Whitecaps went 3-1 against Buffalo during the regular season, with all three victories coming by one goal.
Players to watch: Scamurra (10 goals, 10 assists) led the league in points during the regular season, while Elia (12 goals, seven assists) was its top goal-scorer. Her 19 points were tied for second-most in the league with Whitecaps forward Jonna Curtis. Szabados, who went 6-3-1 in the regular season and got the shutout in the playoff semifinals, was the NWHL leader in goals-against average (1.49) and save percentage (.934); Hensley, who was 5-1, has nearly identical stats (1.50, .935). The Whitecaps have perhaps the best defensive tandem in the league in Lee Stecklein (one goal, 10 assists) and Amanda Boulier (five goals, eight assists).
Numbers: The Whitecaps were outscored 8-7 during the four-game regular-season series, despite winning three games. They are 7-2 at home this season and have a three-game win streak at Tria Rink.