Enjoying a fantastic first season with the Buffalo Beauts, the opportunity to participate in the third NWHL All-Star Game served as an affirmation of Rebecca Vint’s sensational skills. Recording 6 points in 13 games this season, Vint’s debut in a Beauts jersey would take place in an October 9, 2017, preseason tilt against the Chinese national women’s team.
Vint’s offensive brilliance would take shape in a 5-3 win on home ice against the Boston Pride, a rematch of the 2017 Isobel Cup finals. Logging her first career point in said win, she would collaborate with fellow All-Star Corinne Buie on a second period goal scored by rookie sensation Taylor Accursi at the 4:53 mark of the second stanza. Worth noting, Vint recorded a season high five shots on net in the contest.
Continuing to enjoy offensive success against Boston, Vint’s first career goal would take place in a 3-2 loss on December 2. Recording the first goal of the game, which was also the only goal of the first period, Vint took advantage of a power play opportunity, as Buie and Kaylyn Schroka. Coincidentally, Vint scored on future All-Star teammate Brittany Ott.
Statistically, Vint’s best performance took place on January 14, 2018, recording three points in a hard-fought 4-3 road win against the Connecticut Whale. As a side note, Vint would make her regular season debut versus the Whale on October 28, 2017.
In a game where the lead changed hands frequently between the Beauts and the Whale, Vint contributed towards the Beauts ending the first period with the statistical advantage. Along with Lisa Chesson, a former member of the US national team, the two assisted on a go-ahead goal by Accursi.
With the score tied at 2-apiece in the third period, Vint scored on Sydney Rossman to reclaim the lead. Worth noting, Rossman would also be named as one of the participants in the All-Star Game. Vint and Accursi would maintain their offensive synergy, combining their efforts with assists Chesson recorded the game-winning tally with less than four minutes in the game.
It was the kind of breakthrough performance that solidifed Vint’s status as one of the lynchpins in the Beauts’ offensive attack. Such proficiencies were certainly evident in the first game after the All-Star Break as Vint maintained the momentum, scoring in a 6-2 road victory versus the Boston Pride on February 18.
Rewarded for her assiduous efforts with a chance to compete at the third NWHL All-Star Game, it was the kind of gratifying moment that encompassed Vint’s work ethic and fundamentally sound playmaking abilities. Indubitably, the reaction upon the discovery of such a monumental milestone was one filled with enthusiastic elation,
“I was so excited! It means a lot that I had the opportunity to be there. I had such a good weekend, definitely will not forget it.”
Having rewritten the record books of the NCAA’s Robert Morris Colonials, Vint has extended the legacy of Colonials starring for the Beauts, including goaltender Brianne McLaughlin and forward Kelley Steadman (who served as Director of Operations for the program during their 2017 CHA championship).
Simultaneously, Vint’s presence in the Queen City is part of another intriguing element in the heritage of the franchise. As the Beauts have boasted more Canadian-born players than any other in the NWHL, Vint was part of a triptych of fantastic free-agent acquisitions, including Sarah Edney and Jess Jones.
Of note, Jones enjoyed the opportunity to suit up for Team NWHL in January 2018, one of three Canadians on the roster. Said team was a collection of star talent from all of the league’s founding franchises, for a two-game exhibition series against the US national women’s team that would compete at the 2018 Winter Games.
Fittingly, Edney and Vint followed in Jones’ footsteps as part of the Canadian representation at this year’s All-Star Game. Joining them was Kelly Babstock, one of the scoring leaders for the Connecticut Whale, lending credence to the proud Canadian contributions in league lore. Coincidentally, all three of these competitors were raised in the province of Ontario, having all honed their craft in the acclaimed PWHL, prior to their NCAA and professional careers.
Adding lustre was the fact that all three were part of the same team. Competing for Team Leveille, named after Beauts goaltender Amanda Leveille, the first Canadian to be named an NWHL All-Star captain, it enhanced the sense of national pride among them. Joined by Beauts teammates Jordyn Burns and Lisa Chesson, the Beauts had more players on Team Leveille than any other from the NWHL’s Founding Franchises. The Beauts presence was also felt on the opposing team, which was named after goaltender Brittany Ott.
Corinne Buie, the only player to have won the first two Isobel Cup championships, along with rookie sensation Hayley Scamurra, who would be named one of the co-MVP’s of the All-Star Game, constituted the Beauts representation for Team Ott. As a side note, Buie would score a goal, while Scamurra registered a hat trick, part of an 8-6 triumph for Team Ott.
“It was really nice to be able to share my first NWHL All-Star experience with some familiar faces. As great as it is meeting the other players and getting to mingle with them – it’s fun to experience it with your teammates to take it home too.
As for Scams and Buie, yes (it was) definitely different playing against them. We had some laughs out there, but let’s just say I would rather be on their team instead of playing against them!”
With the All-Star event taking place in Saint Paul, Minnesota, it marked the second time in league history that the NWHL visited the State of Hockey. During their inaugural season, the Boston Pride faced off against the Minnesota Whitecaps in a two-game series, the first professional women’s ice hockey games contested in Minnesota.
Fittingly, the Whitecaps were once again involved with the NWHL’s return to Minnesota. With the event contested at TRIA Rink, the training facility for the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, Whitecaps skaters Sadie Lundquist and Kate Schipper were named All-Stars. Lundquist would call Vint a teammate on Team Leveille while Schipper skated for Team Ott.
The presence of the Whitecaps extended into another intriguing facet on this memorable weekend. Winny Brodt-Brown, a charter member of the Whitecaps and the recipient of the inaugural Minnesota Ms. Hockey Award, was bestowed the honor of serving as head coach for Team Leveille.
In getting the chance to get acquainted with one of the State of Hockey’s living legends, the opportunity was one that Vint treasured. Having heard so many positive aspects about Brodt-Brown, from her vast knowledge of the game, to a seemingly endless list of achievements, sharing in a treasured milestone was only made more memorable by the privilege of calling her a coach, certainly in admiration of her legacy,
“It was so awesome to meet Winny. All the Minnesota girls talked so highly of her. She’s a great person and brought a lot of fun to our bench throughout the game! We all even joked around about her dressing up and playing with us (laughs).”
Reflecting on such an exciting and memorable weekend, the Game itself was only part of a much more profound experience. From an outdoor skate with a group of young hockey players from both sides of the border, to getting to experience the ambience and atmosphere of hockey in one of the game’s most majestic markets, there was also another unique element.
Incorporating sportsmanship, along with levity and an overall sense of distraction, the Skills Competition encompassed what made the All-Star event so enjoyable. If there was one event where players did not have to wear their “game face” and could simply grace the ice with a feeling of abandonment, such sentiment was perfectly suited for the Skills Competition.
Competing in the Shooting Accuracy contest, which was won by fellow Beaut (and Team Ott competitor) Corinne Buie in record time, the final result was part of a much more profound narrative, where the chance to celebrate the game in a unique yet jovial environment held just as much importance. For Vint, it was a chance to absorb what made this weekend one of the prized highlights of her NHWL sojourn, as fans and players alike shared in the sense of revelry.
“My favourite part of the weekend was probably the Skills Competition. I have never experienced one before and it was cool to see so much talent and so many loving fans under one roof.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”