The Metropolitan Riveters took three points on the weekend to inch closer to clinching the third-place spot, as they split their series with the Beauts, but not without a shootout and a few game ejections and penalties.
The Beauts took the first game 6-5 in a shootout, while the Riveters bounced back on Sunday and won 4-3 with goalie Dana DeMartino getting her first win of the season. Captain Madison Packer also hit a career-high 30 points in Saturday’s game and then tacked on two more on Sunday.
What has certainly shaped up to be the league’s biggest rivalry, these two teams once again squared off and earned some hefty penalties in Saturday night’s game. With a still-injured Sam Walther getting the start against Tiffany Hsu in her debut, both teams had something to prove.
The Beauts got on the board early with two goals in the first period by Corrine Buie and Kandice Sheriff with her first goal of the season. Leila Kildfuff got one back with just three seconds left in the period to gain some momentum before the second period. Kim Brown got another goal for Buffalo as well, but then the Riveters dominated the rest of the period and with three goals from Dosdall-Arena, Nash, and Leary, the Riveters looked to close out the game from there.
That didn’t happen, however, and Buffalo added two goals, as well as another goal from Brooke Avery for the Rivs, which led the teams into overtime. However, they did so without a prominent player from each team.
At the end of the second period Packer and Sara Bustad of the Beauts were both ejected from the game after fighting. Bustad ultimately received a match penalty and sat out the following day as well for kicking Packer.
After five minutes of overtime, the teams headed to a shootout. No Riveters scored, and all three Beauts representatives did, ending with Ana Orzechowski who sealed the deal for them.
In Sunday’s match, Hsu got the start once again, however, Riveters goalie Dana DeMartino started in Walther’s usual place. The team also signed goalie Zoe Zisis to a PTO that morning, indicating Walther’s injuries are more serious than they previously seemed.
Leary opened the scoring with two goals in the first period, but the Beauts took one back on a Becki Bowering goal. Cassidy MacPherson tied it up in the second, but Leila Kilduff scored again and then Mallory Rushton was finally able to notch her first goal of the season. Kristin Lewicki got her first goal of the season late in the third period, but it wasn’t enough to win. After much effort to get Kate Leary the hat trick on the open net, it did not happen, however, the Riveters came away with the win.
The Riveters will play the Boston Pride one final time on Sunday, Feb. 23, before a two-game season-ending series with the Buffalo Beauts, who currently trail them in the standings by six points.
Metropolitan needs just three points to clinch third place and avoid playing a play-in game with the Connecticut Whale for the playoffs. However, Buffalo has one more game than they do against a more-beatable team. They would have to win their four remaining games, two of which against the Riveters, to take possession of third place. Considering how dominant Minnesota has been this year, and that the Riveters have found success against them, that seems unlikely.
The first game in the playoffs has an official date and time. Hosted by the first-place Boston Pride, the winner of the play-in game will face off with them on March 8 at Warrior Ice Arena at 2:30 pm.