By Nathaniel A. Oliver
Between the Buffalo Beauts’ 5-3 loss on Saturday against Minnesota and their 4-3 win the next day, Taylor Accursi scored five of her team’s seven goals. For her performance, Accursi has been named VEDA NWHL Player of the Week.
“It definitely feels great,” said Accursi, “but being able to say that we won on Sunday is the most important thing. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of my teammates.”
Accursi’s two goals on Saturday were part of a Beauts’ comeback that fell just short. Trailing the Whitecaps 4-1 after the opening period, she scored her team’s second and third goals of the game to bridge the gap.
On Sunday, with the Beauts trailing the Whitecaps 3-0 after two periods, Accursi scored the first hat trick of her professional career – doing so in a span of 8 minutes and 56 seconds. Her third goal, at 17:04 of the final period, was the game-winner.
Her first and third goals were perfectly executed one-timers, while Accursi’s second marker was a high wrist shot that beat Whitecaps’ goalie Amanda Leveille on the stick side.
“I have confidence in my abilities in these key moments,” said Accursi. “I have to emphasize how hard my team worked this weekend, and how we were able to really turn it around.”
This is the third NWHL season for Accursi. She signed in September, saying she was inspired to return to the NWHL and Beauts after serving as a guest coach in Tampa and Orlando for street and ice hockey clinics that were a joint venture of the NWHL and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“At those Tampa events with the NWHL and Lightning Made, I had either just as much fun or more fun than the kids themselves,” said Accursi. “That’s what got the ball rolling for me for a return to the Beauts.”
Prior to this season, Accursi had 10 goals and seven assists in 28 career NWHL games. She led the league in power play goals in 2017-18.
The Ancaster, Ontario native played collegiately at Mercyhurst from 2013-2017. She found her scoring touch in her senior season at Mercyhurst when she scored nine goals in 35 games. She finished second on the team in scoring that year with 23 points and led the Lakers with a +13.
The Beauts are back on the road this weekend when they take on the Connecticut Whale at the Danbury Ice Arena on Nov. 30. This will be the fifth and final meeting of the regular season for Buffalo and Connecticut.
“My personal focus going forward hasn’t changed,” said Accursi. “And that is looking for ways to make my teammates better.”
Photo Credit: Mike Hetzel