The Metropolitan Riveters will host the Buffalo Beauts this weekend in two big games that will be imperative in determining where they both land in the standings as the league approaches the playoffs.
The Riveters sit in third place with 18 points, 10 behind the second-place Whitecaps but only five ahead of the Beauts. With only five games left in the season, and one of them being against the Pride, who have only lost one game, and the rest against Buffalo, these games mean everything.
Beauts Make Additions Before Playoff Push
During the All-Star Break, a top scorer for the Beauts announced she would not be playing for the remainder of the season. In her final moments this year, Brooke Stacey grabbed up a point in the All-Star Skills competition during the shootout for Team Packer. Stacey announced that she is expecting her first child, therefore she will sit out for the rest of the season.
While this is exciting news for her, this left the team without a big part of their point production. The team announced yesterday that they signed another forward on a PTO in her place. None other than former Beaut and Riveter, Kristin Lewicki signed with the team for this upcoming series.
Lewicki has eight points across 30 NWHL games the last two seasons but was playing on abysmal teams. She won the 2018 All-Star Skills Fastest Skater competition and is the Adrian College all-time leading scorer. Compatible with the speed of Beauts’ forward, Taylor Accursi, she can be a powerful force to help the Beauts gain some ground in the standings.
Lewicki also was a member of the PWHPA, a group of professional women’s hockey players boycotting playing North American hockey until salary and healthcare issues are resolved. She is the second player to have participated in a PWHPA showcase and then return to the NWHL, though there have been a handful to claim their allegiance to the PWHPA without participating who have signed with the NWHL. The first was fellow former Riveter, Alexa Aramburu who signed with the Whale recently.
Brooke Avery is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury but is still in the released lineup for the Riveters. Bulbul Kartanbay, who has only played 10 games this season, is also out with an upper-body injury.
Players To Watch
Boston goalie, Lovisa Selander took home the All-Star Game MVP award, but in my opinion, it belonged to Rebecca Morse. She was tied for second hardest shot, had two assists, and drew a penalty during the game. She’s riding high from the break and I think will come back swinging. She leads the team in goals, points, and shots by a defender on the season too.
Like a handful of Riveters’ players, Shatalova is just on the cusp of very apparent greatness. She’s made big moves this season already, with a game-winning goal in Buffalo at the outdoor game, and a crucial shootout goal. All while being a rookie and the youngest player in the league too. Any minute, she is due for a breakout game to really cement her place, so she will remain a player to watch until we see it.
Leary had the first goal in the All-Star Game, on a pass coming from none other than Madison Packer. As long as the two of them are on the ice together, good things will happen. Of the big three players in Packer, Leary, and Kendall Cornine, they are all tied at 12 goals on the season which leads the team. I’d suspect Leary to get lucky number 13 first this weekend.
While Riveters’ goalie Sam Walther did participate in the All-Star Skills Competition, she did not play in the actual game and still appeared to be favoring one leg after a bad fall that sidelined her for their last game before the break. She is rostered as the starter this weekend, however, she may be a big question mark during the series.
That being said, knowing Ashley Johnston is back in the lineup, and if fully healthy, Avery and Shatalova have both really turned up their game, so the Riveters could come away with another two-game sweep against Buffalo.
I predict a 5-3 win on Saturday night, with Madison Packer getting at least one more point to get her to 30, which would be a feat never reached for her in one season. And a 4-3 overtime win on Sunday, with Shatalova getting the game-winner.
Both games can be streamed on the NWHL Twitch channel. The first game will be Saturday at 7:30 pm, with Sunday’s game at 4:30 pm.