With the All-Star Game done and just five games left, the final month of the NWHL’s regular season doesn’t look exceedingly hopeful for the New York Riveters. Tied for last place in the league (…wassup, Beauts? I regret all the smack I talked about you in November), our favorite Brooklyn hockey team (transferring trash-talk to the Isles seems like a safe bet) will end the season in either last or second-to-last position.
FUN FACT: Even if the Riveters won all of their remaining games in regulation and nobody else won any games at all, the Rivs would still be in third.
Hey, but at least they’re still going to the playoffs!
FUN FACT: Every NWHL team is going to the playoffs.
So it seems pretty likely that when we watch the Riveters throughout February, we’re not looking at the first-ever Isobel Cup champions. This is not resignation, it’s realism—and while being a fan of a winning team is more fun, I’m as comforted by the ‘making history’/‘play for her’ angle as ever. And hey, speaking of making history…
FUN FACT: The New York Riveters made history by trading goalie Shenae Lundberg to the Connecticut Whale for goalie Chelsea Laden, the first trade to take place in the NWHL.
I’m no scout, and the sample size for both players in this league is almost laughably small—one game apiece. Laden played a full game against the Beauts early in the season, coming away with a save percentage of 0.947%, and Lundberg played 28 minutes, of a game for the Rivs, facing 32 shots and saving 28 of them. Both have been injured for the majority of the season, Laden with a broken finger and Lundberg with an ankle injury.
At this point, Riveters appear have a strong goaltending situation. Between Nana Fujimoto and Jenny Scrivens, goalies haven’t been the major problem that the Rivs have faced this season—but Laden’s injury seems to be less severe than Lundberg’s, and she also comes at a thousand dollar discount ($14,000 to Lundberg’s $15,000), which, with a $270,000 salary cap, never hurts.
FUN FACT: I like this trade! Why not, right? Does it kind of feel like the league just wanted to remind everyone that trades were still a thing that could happen? Sure! Whatever! You do you, NWHL.
The Riveters play the Beauts on Sunday—the first of three games remaining against Buffalo. Standings-wise, the Beauts appear to be the most even matchup for the Rivs, so these three games will hopefully be a chance for the Riveters to build their confidence going into the playoffs in mid-March. As far as the league’s likely contenders, the Whale and Pride, the Riveters play both teams once more before the season where history began draws to an end.