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Canadian goalie Szabados takes move to NWHL in stride

Two-time Olympic medalist Shannon Szabados is used to dealing with photographs in males’s leagues this time of yr. Now, the veteran goaltender is completely satisfied competing within the 4 Countries Cup and for Buffalo within the ladies’s professional league.

“I cherished my time enjoying males’s hockey,” Szabados stated. “I have no idea at 32 65-game time table is what my frame wishes.”

Szabados has been the go-to goaltender for the Canadian ladies’s group in lots of global and Olympic finals since 2010. Now, she’s a part of Canada’s group for the 4 Countries Cup event, an annual match that incorporates america, Sweden and Finland.

Canada will face the U.S. on Saturday night time within the ultimate. It is a rematch of the Olympic ultimate that the American citizens received in South Korea.

Szabados has spent the vast majority of her hockey occupation in males’s leagues, beginning with exhibition video games for WHL’s Tri-Town American citizens at age 16 to complete seasons within the Alberta Junior Hockey League, Alberta Faculties Athletic Convention and the Southern Skilled Hockey League.

Any sustained time within the ladies’s sport got here within the winters she spent with the Canadian group in Calgary getting ready for Olympic Video games.

Her bodily, non-public and geographic wishes factored into the Edmonton local signing with the Buffalo Beauts of the five-team Nationwide Girls’s Hockey League.

Lorain, simply west of Cleveland, Ohio, is the homeland of her spouse Carl Nielsen. It is the place Szabados sought after to transport after the Olympics in February.

“At the beginning, the verdict was once in line with him having a excellent task there,” she stated. “They have got had a jewellery retailer of their circle of relatives for nearly 400 years, so it was once essential for him to be there.”

Now, she’s change into conversant in Interstate 90, and the 435-mile (700-kilometer) around commute from Lorain to Buffalo, New York, that she makes two times per week to play and apply with the Beauts.

“Go out 27, that is my go-to. On the best way to Buffalo, there is a Shell and a Tim Hortons,” she stated Thursday on the 4 Countries Cup event.

Kim and Terry Pegula, homeowners of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, bought the Beauts in 2017.

“It is roughly an enormous step for girls’s hockey,” Szabados stated. “A large number of our group of workers overlap. Our media group of workers, one man places on his Sabres jacket after which he places on his Beauts jacket.

“We get top notch remedy throughout so far as amenities and the way we are handled.”

Szabados injured ligaments in her left knee towards the tip of her 2nd season with the Columbus Cottonmouths of the Southern Skilled Hockey League in 2016.

Accidents additionally restricted her to a handful of video games with the Canadian ladies all the way through their 2017-18 preparation for Pyeongchang.

However Szabados stopped 40 of 42 photographs, together with 9 in time beyond regulation, within the Olympic ultimate. The U.S. prevailed in a six-round shootout to say gold.

Szabados turned into tearful after the sport whilst speaking about accidents that sidelined her for a lot of the season. A wholesome frame that may lengthen her occupation is a concern for her now.

“I knew if I sought after to proceed … I did not have the healthiest of years final yr, so it was once essential for me to be someplace the place I may well be again to being 100 consistent with cent,” Szabados stated. “Being at the ice seven days per week for hours upon hours and getting working over by means of 200-pound males was once almost definitely no longer the best state of affairs for me health-wise. I omit it, however I experience the place I am at.”

In 64 video games for Canada, Szabados ranks 2nd all-time in wins (47) and shutouts (17), at the back of Kim St. Pierre, who has 64 wins and 29 shutouts.

Szabados made 27 and 28 saves within the 2014 and 2010 Olympic ladies’s finals, respectively, on the best way to the gold medal.

She is the primary participant from Canada’s nationwide group to play within the NWHL. Szabados is 1-2 for the Beauts this season with a goals-against moderate of one.67 and a save share of .938.

U.S. ladies’s group ahead Dani Cameranesi and defender Emily Pfalzer are her Beauts teammates.

How lengthy Szabados will have a tendency web is a year-to-year determination.

She echoes avid gamers in each the NWHL and Canadian Girls’s Hockey League in wishing for a merger of the 2 leagues.

“I feel ladies’s hockey is more or less at a thrilling level at the moment,” Szabados stated. “I might feel sorry about it if I did not stick round to look the place it is going.”

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Extra AP NHL: https://apnews.com/tag/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities

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