Last Sunday, the New York Riveters put up their best game yet versus Connecticut, managing to hold the Whale to 3 goals while the win-hungry Brooklynites scored just one. Their second consecutive home game showed considerably more team cohesiveness and notably improved on-ice awareness from their prior games, particularly last week’s …significant defeat by the Boston Pride.
The lone Riveters goal was scored by Ashley Johnston in the second period, which served to bring them even with the Whale, who scored their first goal midway through the first. A 1-1 tie game at the end of 40 minutes is as good as the Rivs have looked thus far, and there was a moment where it seemed like they might pull off their first-ever win. Even when the Whale’s Kaleigh Fratkin scored just over two minutes into the final period, the win felt almost within reach. At the end of the third, the decision to pull Nana Fujimoto from the net for another attacker made a ton of sense. Unfortunately, the Riveters couldn’t manage to keep the game moving in their direction for a tying goal, and instead they allowed another Connecticut goal for a final score of 3-1.
And yet… I’m excited. This was not the penalty-happy, pass-missing, physical-in-a-bad-way team we saw as recently as last weekend. In fact, after Lyudmila Belyakova took two hooking minors in under five minutes at the end of the first, the Riveters didn’t take another penalty for over 25 minutes, including the entirety of the second…. a period during which the Whale were held scoreless. CRAZY. It is worth noting that both non-empty net goals by the Whale were scored while on the powerplay, so the Riveters still have some work to do on their penalty kill.
Nana Fujimoto (recommended listening: Na Na Na Na Naa by Kaiser Chiefs) played the entire game, making 17 saves, some of which were entirely improbable and a big component of the closeness of the score. After three games, the biggest shooters on the Riveters are Brooke Ammerman (12), Bray Ketchum (11) and Janine Weber (10)—Ammerman’s persistence and paid off with one of the team’s three regular season goals thus far, and I’m hoping that Ketchum and Weber’s shots start to find the back of the net soon.
The NWHL is looking pretty uneven after three games played per team—only the Whale and the Boston Pride have won, while the Buffalo Beauts remain in the same sorry winless state as the Riveters. After less than a month, I’m still willing to attribute this to the newness of the league and hold out for the win I know is coming. Frankly, after last weekend, this feels almost like a win. Like the Riveters are finally doing some of the right things, and they’re either paying off or are right on the verge of doing so.
Headed into a break for the 4 Nations Cup, the Riveters won’t play for three weeks before returning to face back-to-back games against the Pride in late November. The dominance of the Pride thus far and their rough first matchup in New York will definitely present a challenge, but I’m hoping the Riveters can come back in great shape and keep their composure through those games.
In conclusion, four rejected titles for this article:
- The Rivs Have the Same Win/Loss Record as My 5th Grade Basketball Team
- I Dream a Dream that One Day the Riveters Will Have a Multi-Goal Game
- It’s Been 3 Games and I’m Still Unclear as to the Official Riveters Emoji
- If This Is How I React to Losing by 2 Imagine What I’ll Do When The Rivs Win
See you in November, steadfast Riveters fans! May the break pass quickly and may Celeste Brown favorite all of your tweets.