During a flurry of off-season acitivty, the Buffalo Beauts decision to acquire Shiann Darkangelo as a free agent from the Connecticut Whale definitely made an impact on the league’s landscape. Compounded by the departure of Kaleigh Fratkin to the New York Riveters, the two became inextricably linked.
While both proudly represented the Whale in the inaugural NWHL All-Star Game, the two would become part of history once again in the second edition of the Game. Adding a touch of irony was the fact that both were All-Star teammates with Team Steadman.
Scoring in her debut, a Sept 25 preseason tilt with the Buffalo Jr Sabres, fellow free agent acquisition (and eventual All-Star) Corinne Buie gained the assist. Of note, Darkangelo has hockey roots in New York State, having played with the Syracuse Orange during the tail end of her NCAA career.
Of note, Darkangelo’s first regular season game with the Beauts was filled with emotion. The first game of second NWHL sason, hosting Pride rematch of Isobel Cup, she registered six shots on net. In her second regular season game, she logged a pair of assists in a 5-4 win against her former team, the Whale, signifying the start of a five game scoring streak, with 22 shots on goal and only 2 penalty minutes.
The only other multi-point performance resulted in a win for Buffalo, a 5-3 road win against New York Riveters, gaining a goal and an assist. In a three game set versus the Riveters, spanning from January 14 to February 4, she worked tirelessly to set the tone on offense. The January 14 saw her record 11 shots in a visceral 3-0 loss. She would bounce back wtih goals in back-to-back games, including a power play marker in the January 27 win against New York in a 4-3 final.
One of only six Beauts to reach double digits in scoring, this includes fellow All-Stars Megan Bozek, Corinne Buie and Kelley Steadman, one of the All-Star captains. Darkangelo leads with 67 shots on net, looking to create as many scoring opportunities as possible. With Buie, they compose the best free agent combo in the NWHL. Together, they have 21 total points, combining for 22.5 percent of the offense
Also one of only six to score on the power play, Darkangelo has also emerged as a face off specialist, winning 80, third on the team behind Kourtney Kunichika and Emily Janiga.
Darkangelo’s return to the NWHL All-Star stage represents a special chapter in league history. Not only is she among a rare group of players to have played in the first two All-Star Games, she is part of an even more exclusive sorority, having represented two different franchises during those Games.
Of note, she represented the Connecticut Whale in the inaugural game last year, while this year, she is part of the Buffalo Beauts. Although Darkangelo is proud to have been able to make history, while being part of it, as this year’s game marked the first professional women’s hockey contest in the state of Pennsylvania, she has never lost focus on the bigger picture.
“Being selected to play in the first NWHL all-star was a great opportunity and something I will always remember, it's a great weekend to showcase women's hockey and inspire the younger generation.”
With Beauts teammate Kelley Steadman serving as captain of Darkangelo’s team, she was also joined by fellow Beauts skater Corinne Buie, adding to the strong feeling of teamwork among this accomplished trio of hockey talent.
Having skated with Team USA at numerous levels, no shortage of familiar faces, regardless of which team she plays with, subsequently adding an element of fun. In addition, it was also fun to see several former Whale teammates on-hand for the All-Star Game, such as Kelli Stack and Nicole Stock, making her All-Star debut in 2017.
“Yes, it is always fun playing with teammates and other players in the league.”
Compared to last year’s All-Star Game, the experience this year was exceptionally unique as the league went out of market. An unprecedented first in league history, it was also brilliantly innovative to showcase the shining stars in the great sports market of Pittsburgh.
While location alone definitely contributed to the sense of history on this day, Darkangelo enjoyed the opportunity to see the players connect with a new group of supporters. Gracious towards the fan support, while contributing towards a captivating display of elite hockey on the ice, it represented another proud milestone in her career.
“I really enjoyed Pittsburgh, the fans were awesome as always and the atmosphere was great.”
"All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated"