Riveters Sign Ashley Johnston Ahead of Whitecaps Series

The Metropolitan Riveters will host the Minnesota Whitecaps this weekend and will look to go on their longest win streak of the season tonight (three games). Coming off of a sweep in their first road trip to Buffalo, and the league’s first outdoor game ever, none of this is the biggest news of the day. 

Ashley Johnston, former Riveters’ captain, who came out of retirement briefly to participate in the Buffalo Believes Classic, has officially signed for the remainder of the season. While this is great for the sentimental value of every Riveters’ fan who has watched from the beginning, it’s also a massive addition to the Rivs’ blue line. 

The 6’0 defender who has played nothing but beer league hockey as a forward since retiring from the NWHL had a great weekend in Buffalo and will bring tremendous depth to the lineup going forward. 

Photo from NWHL

Unfortunately, when one door opens, another one closes. The Riveters will be without forward Tatiana Shatalova, who received a one-game suspension for fighting in last Sunday’s Beauts matchup. While her numbers don’t prove great, she was really coming together as a strong third-line forward and certainly had an impact last week with a multi-goal weekend.

Hoping for Whitecaps to Fall

With all teams except the Connecticut Whale playing this weekend, there could be a huge shakeup in the standings come Monday morning. The Whitecaps currently sit in second place with 16 points, but the Beauts trail them by just three, and the Riveters just four. If all goes well for the Metropolitan team, they could see themselves in second place overall after this weekend. 

That is a little bit of wishful thinking on my part, as the Whitecaps have some of the most dangerous players in the game and a goalie with the second most wins behind Lovisa Selander. 

Players To Watch 

Kate Leary

Leary hasn’t gone a single game this season without at least one point, and usually more. For that reason, she is deserving of being on this list. No matter what, she’s determined to get to the goal and get on the score sheet. She was named December’s player of the month by the NWHL and is showing so signs of slowing down.

Ashley Johnston

This may just be me being biased and happy she is back, but Johnston really is a veteran force to be reckoned with who will minimize damage in the Whitecaps’ offensive zone. 

Madison Packer

After an eight-point weekend in Buffalo, and the honor of player of the week by the NWHL, Packer is playing like she never wants to lose again. If she can give even half of what she did last weekend, she’ll earn her keep as a player to watch in my book.

Predictions 

I think with the addition of Kelly Nash and Johnston, the Riveters are a lot more intimidating of a team than when the Whitecaps last saw them. That being said, the Rivs were able to beat them without those two. I think coming off a hot weekend in Buffalo, the Riveters can sweep Minnesota at home. I’ll say 3-1 tonight, and 5-4 tomorrow. 

The first game will be streamed on the NWHL Twitch channel at 7:30 PM EST on Saturday. And the second game will be streamed at 4:30 PM EST on Sunday. 

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