A valiant postseason effort resulted in the Buffalo Beauts competing for the inaugural Isobel Cup. The result saw was no shortage of playoff heroes that highlighted such a memorable run. Among them was Erin Zach, who would score in the second game of the Finals.
With the Beauts having forced overtime in Game 1, the club showed tremendous effort, convincing resolve. Despite the efforts of Hilary Knight culminating in a win for the Pride, the Beauts were confident. Although a third game looked out of reach in the third period, Zach tried to turn the tide and create more postseason magic for the Beauts.
As Pride goaltender Brittany Ott worked towards the first shutout in Isobel Cup finals history, Zach would foil her ambitions. Although it would prove to be her only postseason goal, it was a most timely goal. With assists credited to Megan Bozek and All-Star Game captain Emily Pfalzer, both US national team members, Zach would make her mark in NWHL history as one of a group of skaters that scored a goal during the inaugural Isobel Cup finals. Zach approaches her mark in NWHL history with perspective.
“It is a series and we had a few goals in the first game, but I was super happy to be the one to put the shut out stealer in the net. We still trailed by two goals with only about 45 seconds left, but it’s always nice to steal the shut out.”
Signed by the Beauts after an impressive showing at the Toronto talent and evaluation camp, Zach, raised in Elmira, Ontario, was singed on July 9. Of note, it was the same day the Beauts acquired fellow Canadian Devon Skeats, who would become the first Canadian to score a goal in NWHL All-Star Game history.
The chance to skate for the Beauts was an extension of Zach’s proud playing career in New York State. Prior to her NWHL career, Zach made her mark as a member of the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers. Capturing an NCAA Division III national title, Zach was part of the program’s transition to Division I hockey, participating in the College Hockey America conference.
Scoring the game-winning goal against Mercyhurst in the CHA postseason championship game would only solidify her legend. Ironically, Shelby Bram, who played for Mercyhurst in that game would become Zach’s teammate with the Beauts, both playing for the Isobel Cup. Although the Cup final did not yield the desired results, the chance to play in such a historic event is one that Zach shall always cherish,
“It has been an amazing experience and an honor to take part in this historic event for women’s hockey. Now female hockey players everywhere can actually have a chance to dream and play for the cup, just like the guys do. It is now a reality.”
Although the start to Zach’s NWHL career was marred by work visa complications, she showed great patience, a quality that was evident during the 2014-15 season. Considering that Zach was not in competitive play during said season, her love for the game remained strong. In addition to refereeing and coaching in Cambridge, Ontario, she found skating time with a club team, her dream of playing professional hockey still strong.
Having accomplished her dream with the Beauts, it has proven to be the culmination of a dream come true. While skating with (and against) some of the finest women’s hockey talent in the world, Zach was grateful for an opportunity to be part of such a pioneering time in the game. Among the players that she called teammate, there was one that definitely made the experience much more worthwhile,
“I will always remember and be grateful that I had the opportunity to play with and against some of the greatest female hockey players in the world, even if they happen to play for the rival country. I never expected even that much. But I was given the opportunity to play with Meghan Duggan which was amazing. Will never forget it.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”