The Metropolitan Riveters opened their season yesterday at home against the Boston Pride, and what I thought was going to be a rough road was actually a great game. Despite losing to the Pride, 4-2, the Riveters hung in for most of the game and actually led the Pride for a part of the third period. Considering the last Boston goal was on an empty net, my 3-1 loss prediction wasn’t too far off from reality.
Nobody wants to open their season with a loss, especially with knowing the team will not return to their home rink until Dec. 7. However, looking at last year’s abysmal season, the Riveters should consider yesterday’s match somewhat successful.
The Metropolitan team took three tripping penalties in the first half of the game, as well as three additional penalties in the third period. After the Rivs’ preseason game against Long Island University, my one criticism was the amount of unnecessary penalties they took. It may not have seemed like a big deal seeing as they took that game 10-3, but it made a considerable difference in a game against a team like the Pride.
Despite this, what would have been a death sentence for the Riveters last year turned out to be a good thing this time around. The Riveters killed every single penalty successfully and even dominated play, keeping the puck in Boston’s zone throughout a lot of their time down a player. This is something a lot of Rivs’ fans are not used to, I promise.
Sam Walther also put on a clinic in goal for the Riveters. She stopped 36 shots and really kept the team in the game when it counted most. She faced McKenna Brand breakaways with ease and again, if we rewind to this time last season, all three Riveters’ goalies were breaking under that pressure. Walther should be exciting to watch going forward.
As a shock to no one, the first goal of the season for the Riveters came from Kendall Cornine, assisted by two of her former RIT teammates, Mallory Rushton and Brooke Baker. As soon as these players were signed, it was obvious this would be a lethal line with tons of previous experience together behind them.
According to Dan Rice, the defensive issues the Riveters are having will soon be aided by Kate Leary and Kiira Dosdall, who are expected to join the team over the next two weeks.
Race to the Record
Another interesting storyline that was showcased in this game for the first time this season is the chase for the all-time NWHL goal record. Both Pride captain Jillian Dempsey, and newly-named Riveters captain Madison Packer came into the season tied at 29 for most all-time goals.
Dempsey was able to score twice in yesterday’s match, giving her a slight edge up. Packer was an integral part of the Rivs’ second goal of the game, but it was ultimately awarded to defender Colleen Murphy.
It’s not often you see two players chasing the same record at the same time, so that should make every meeting between these two teams fun and interesting to watch.
The Riveters play their next game Saturday, October 12 against the reigning champion Minnesota Whitecaps at 2 p.m. EST. That game, and all other games this season can be streamed through the NWHL Twitch account.