It has been a busy last couple of weeks for the Metropolitan Riveters, with five players being signed over the last couple of weeks.
The Riveters 2017-2018 goaltending trio has returned in full, with Katie Fitzgerald, Sarah Bryant and Kimberly Sass all deciding to return for next season. In addition, a defenseman and forward have also re-signed—Rebecca Morse and Kelly Nash.
First to talk about Nash and Morse. The two forwards did not see as much action last season, having spent most games in the press box as healthy scratches. However, with the departure of Tatiana Rafter and Harrison Browne, there will be two spots in the lineup to fill, giving both players chances at becoming regulars.
Between the regular season and playoffs, Nash appeared in ten games, during which she tallied six points (3 G 3 A). One of her most notable goals was scored in the Riveters’ semifinal game against the Connecticut Whale. The 29-year-old is excited to defend the Isobel Cup with the rest of her teammates again, so it will be interesting to see where she falls in the lineup.
Morse, 26, suited up periodically throughout the season, scoring twice from the point. She will be entering her third season with the team and may also find herself getting more ice time this season as a result of the aforementioned departures. It will come down to seeing whether anybody new will be signing with the Riveters or not. Fun fact—Morse is also the biggest New Jersey Devils fan on the team.
Now for the goaltenders. Fitzgerald will once again take the starting role with Sass backing up and Bryant on reserve in case of injury. That is the most likely and realistic scenario for Metropolitan.
Fitzgerald, 24, played in 15 out of 16 games last regular season going 12-3 with a .920 save percentage and 1.87 goals against average. She also posted a shutout against the Whale. In the playoffs, Fitzgerald was absolutely flawless in both games, stopping 34 out of 34 shots en route to the Cup. She will only look to improve upon her performance.
There is a lot of tough competition in the league for goalie of the year. Amanda Levielle, last season’s goaltender of the year will now be backstopping for the Minnesota Whitecaps. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Beauts have a 1/1A situation on their hands with Olympic gold medalists Shannon Szabados and Nicole Hensley. Szabados won gold medals for Canada, and is widely considered the best women’s goaltender in the world. Hensley was back up to Maddie Rooney for team USA but still had a stellar performance in the games she did play. Needless to say their might not be a lot of goals scored in the NWHL this year.
Sass played the only other game for the Riveters last season, which resulted in an overtime victory. She gave up two goals and had a .913 save percentage. The 28-year-old showed that she can be a very solid goaltender if anything were to happen to Fitzgerald this upcoming season. Bryant, 23, since joining the Riveters two seasons ago has only appeared twice in relief appearances, both occurring in the 2016-2017 season. One more notably against them Whale in February 2017 where they were trailing 3-0 and she came in for Fitzgerald, faced a scramble of three quick shots, the third one ending up in the back of the net. She was then pulled by then coach Chad Wiseman. But needless to say, she loves being a Riveter and everyone on the team. There is a chance she could dress as a backup for a couple games depending on how the season goes.