The Metropolitan Riveters will spend the weekend in Buffalo to not only have their first meeting of the season with the Beauts but to also make history while taking part in the first-ever outdoor NWHL game.
The Buffalo Believes Classic will be held Saturday, December 28 at 7 pm at RiverWorks rink in Buffalo. The game will be streamed on Twitch as usual but will be a very special moment for the league and teams participating. The event will have its own signature beer, sponsored by Labatt Blue, and fans can partake in an organized meet up after the game.
Sunday, these two teams will meet again back at the Beauts normal home rink as the Riveters will look to surpass them in the standings.
First Look at Beauts
The Beauts currently hold the third spot in the league behind the undefeated Pride and the Minnesota Whitecaps. They sit at 6-5-1 so if the Riveters can come away with a win or two this weekend, they can close the five-point gap between them in the standings.
The Beauts are an easily comparable team to the Riveters this season. They have a very deadly top line who claims most of their points, and all of their scoring leaders are equal to that of the Rivs. So I’m anticipating this to be a very competitive matchup.
Much like the Riveters, the difference-maker for the Beauts is their goaltending. Not only do they have Mariah Fujimagari as their starter, who has been an absolute star, but they have Kelsey Neumann playing backup to her. There isn’t much room for error with both of those goalies as possible opponents.
Players To Watch
This will be Nash’s first game of the season as she just unexpectedly signed with the Riveters during the week. Nash played for the Riveters for six games last season, and eight the previous season but still managed to make a lot of noise. She can claim an Isobel Cup championship with the team. As a forward, she plays a very defensive game and will add great center depth to the team that is looking for an edge against Buffalo.
Baker has just three points this season, but I think she is due for something big and a change of scenery might be just what she needs. The past few games, she’s been close, getting her touches in there and climbing the shots on goal tally. It’s only a matter of time and a lucky bounce for her.
The team’s points leader will look to break up the sea of Boston Pride yellow you see when you check the league stats. With how fun this weekend is going to be, I wouldn’t be shocked if the whole top line could really dig in and claim some big numbers, Leary being no exception.
I think the Riveters can safely split the series. If I were hopeful, I would say on a good weekend, they take two against the Beauts, but I’ll be humble again. I say the Riveters claim the first win in an outdoor NWHL game 4-3 over the Beauts but fall short 3-1 on Sunday.
The first game will be streamed on the NWHL Twitch channel at 7:00 PM EST on Saturday. And the second game will be streamed at 1:00 PM EST on Sunday.