The Metropolitan Riveters found a creative way to ensure their season lasted just a few days longer than it should have. That way being a postponed game due to a handful of missed flights, lost baggage, and a Minnesota blizzard.
The team was set to play the 12-4 Minnesota Whitecaps to a sold-out state-of-hockey crowd on Sat., March 9. However, because of the aforementioned issues that landed them in three different airports within a 24-hour span (hint: none of them being in Minnesota), the game was postponed to today, March 15.
The Buffalo Beauts, who have already clinched a spot in the Isobel Cup final, also graciously agreed to give up their potential home-ice advantage to also travel to Minnesota and take on the winner of this match on Sunday. They would have made this trip only if the Whitecaps won, and it would be hard to believe that they thought they wouldn’t be making the trip.
Sadly, there have been a lot of other issues for the Riveters to tackle this week as well. Amanda Kessel, who was noticeably left out of the box score last game, has announced she will not travel with the team to play due to a lingering lower-body injury she has struggled with all season. With the World Championships starting in April, it is understandable that she would not want to risk further injury.
Kimberly Sass has also announced she also will not be participating in this weekend’s events due to conflicting schedules with her new architecture job. She addressed the decision on Twitter, saying “While I love the hustle of having two careers/passions, and am grateful for the platform in which I’m able to pursue both, there are challenges that should be addressed….My hope for the future: female professional athletes will never be faced with the decision to attend a game, or risk ruining a professional reputation at their non-sport place of employment.”
Additionally, new goaltender Maria Sorokina is no longer with the team after requesting leave. That said, Sarah Bryant will be dressed as a backup goalie in Minnesota. If needed, Bryant would see ice time for the first time in over two years, which can be a scary thought in a playoff semifinal match.
Kelly Nash, who was likely to sit anyway, will not be present despite being in Minnesota. She will be with the Princeton women’s team, where she coaches for their quarterfinal game. And I’m not even finished: Kelsey Koelzer will also be out for unknown reasons, causing a serious deficit on the Riveters’ blue line.
This leaves a lot of holes in an already sparse and shuffled lineup for the Riveters. However, the odds have been stacked against them all season long, and they’ve still made it this far. Playing with a chip on their shoulder seems to work.
Sadly, I don’t think the Riveters will be able to keep pace with the top-seeded Whitecaps, who have already swept the Rivs in the regular season, and I don’t think Metropolitan will do much damage. I would love to be proven wrong but I will predict a 6-2 loss to the Whitecaps, who go on to win it all over the Beauts 4-2.
You can watch this game, and the Isobel Cup finals via the NWHL Twitter starting tonight at 8 p.m. EST.