One year ago today, Amanda Kessel was celebrating a gold medal OT win over Canada in the Pyeongchang Olympics. Today, she comes off of a rivalry series loss with that same Canada team and will be a healthy scratch, as the Metropolitan Riveters try for their fourth win of the season…or at least a game where they don’t get outscored by over three goals.
The Riveters face the Beauts on the road, in their second to last game of the season. The Beauts have defeated the Rivs in both games they have played so far and have outscored the Riveters 8-3. The two final games of the regular season will be against the Beauts, where statistically the best the Riveters can hope for is home team advantage in the ‘wild card’ game already known to be between them and the last place Connecticut Whale.
Coming off of an 8-1 loss to the Boston Pride, the Riveters have Kessel, Kelsey Koelzer, and Kelly Nash for either rest or conflicting scheduling. Without Kessel, the only goal scorer in the game against the Pride, and one of the best puck movers on their top line, the Rivs will surely be hurting.
Head coach Randy Velischek did announce early that after Sass getting the start against Boston, with Sorokina coming in to relieve her in the third, Katie Fitzgerald will get the start against Buffalo.
It is hard to say what exactly has been the problem with the Riveters this season. Coming off of a championship, and falling to be a three-win team without much of a roster change is hard to piece together. However, goaltending surely composes a lot of it.
Velischek has rotated between three goalies most of the season with an attempt to ride the hot hand each game. This poses a problem when a hot hand really doesn’t exist. Each goalie can claim one win from the season so far, and between the rest of the games, they have been outscored 50-14.
Velischek has also toyed with PP units as well as moving Kristen Lewicki to the top line in for Kessel. At this point, it’s easy to assume he is willing to make any change that will show results in some regard, as odd as they may seem.
Sadly, I don’t see the Riveters winning this one. Between being on the road, and missing integral pieces to both their offense and defense, it will be a tough battle on their end. If you ask me, Rivs take the loss 6-2.