- Kristin Lewicki, Kaylyn Schroka and Sarah Shureb were dominant as a line at Adrian College, and they'll keep the good times rolling together as members of the NWHL’s Buffalo Beauts.
The Buffalo Beauts are betting on the Rule of Three this season.
The team signed the full forward line of Kristin Lewicki, Kaylyn Schroka and Sarah Shureb over the summer, adding the high-scoring Adrian College trio to aid in its Isobel Cup title defense.
Coming off a season in which they led the Bulldogs to within :30 of a national title before falling to Plattsburgh State 4-3 in overtime, the linemates attended the Beauts’ tryout at the behest of Adrian coach Chad Davis.
“At first Kaylyn and I were the only ones looking,” Lewicki says. “When we found out they were inviting all three of us, that's when we were kind of like, ‘This would be really neat if they took all three of us.’ We talked about it and we knew we wanted to go and try our best so they would take us as a line, so that would be great.”
There’s little question as to why each forward was brought in to camp—Lewicki finished atop Division III in scoring categories with 32 goals and 66 points in 31 games, while Schroka was third with 62 points, and Shureb notched 59, good for fourth. Their season ranks among the best in Division III history, and all three were named to All-USCHO teams for their efforts, with Lewicki among the nominees for the NCAA’s Woman of the Year award and a first-team All-America. They powered Adrian to the NCAA final, the furthest the school had ever gone in the postseason.
The trio’s success was four seasons in the making, as Davis finally put the three skaters together at the beginning of their senior season and watched the fireworks from the bench.
“It just happened and evolved over time,” he says. “There was a point where, maybe midway through the season, I was like, 'Wow, this is something. Will they be able to continue this at this pace?' and sure enough, they did. It was impressive, it was something special to watch. It's the most points that I've ever seen any three players accumulate in one season.”
Each brings different elements to the unit: Lewicki has the top-level speed and silky hands. Shureb is a smart playmaker who can set her teammates up or simply score on her own. Schroka plays a hard, physical game and would “go through a wall for you,” according to Davis. The three come together to create a unique blend of offensive skills.
“To be able to click with them and be successful and have fun with it, it was awesome,” Schroka says. “We never got on each other or were negative or down on each other. We just always were pushing through, even the rough times when maybe one of us were off our game. It was really awesome to be able to have a whole season together.”
The prolific season saw Lewicki finish her time at Adrian as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 90 goals and 179 points, Schroka’s totals of 69 and 149 are second to her linemate. Shureb had rocketed up the school’s scoring list with 102 points, the fifth-highest total in the Bulldogs’ 10-year NCAA history.
There were some questions as to what would come next after their collegiate careers came to a close. Shureb considered going to play in Europe, while Lewicki, a criminal justice major, had her eye on a job with the FBI or ATF.
“I never really thought about the NWHL, never thought it would be a possibility for me,” Shureb says. “I didn't want to be done yet. We still want to win that championship, and playing for the Beauts, who are coming off winning the Isobel Cup, I really want to try and get that championship. It was really though coming that close and not coming out on top. Hopefully we can prove that we can do that this year.”
While they're not the first D-III players to skate in the NWHL, Shureb and her cohorts will have their work cut out for them as they begin their transition to the next level. In the NWHL, they’ll face Olympians, national team hopefuls and Division I stars, a step up from the competition they’ve seen over the past four years.
“We know there might be some doubters out there, and we want to prove all of them wrong,’ Shureb says. “We want to prove that D-III players can take it to that next level, can compete at that higher level. We know it's not going to be easy, but we know that we can. There's a chip on our shoulder.”
They’ll carry that chip together to Buffalo where the early indications have been they’ll continue to be linemates as they traverse a new team in a new league in a new city. Schroka and Shureb, who lived together for all four year in college, will add Lewicki into the household mix in Buffalo as roommate No. 3, a move they believe will only enhance their on-ice output.
“They're not only my linemates, they're some of my best friends,” Schroka says. “Living with your linemates brings even another element to the chemistry of the line. You get that much closer living together, I think.”
“Even our bond off the ice and our friendship helps us be even better on the ice,” Lewicki adds. ”We're so close and we want to go out there and have fun and do our best. It just comes really easy for us.”
They're lucky enough to make the transition together, friends traversing the country for a new experience with the same goal that eluded them in college. Lewicki, Schroka and Shureb are ready to help the Beauts raise the Isobel Cup for a second straight season, eager to be the three that rule.