On Saturday, the Metropolitan Riveters set out to spoil the championship banner raising by the Minnesota Whitecaps at their home opener just like they did to the Rivs a year ago. Their effort was failed, as they quickly fell into a hole and lost to the reigning champs, 9-2. However, the Metropolitan team bounced back on Sunday with a 4-3 win in OT.
This is the first time the Riveters have beaten the Whitecaps since they joined the league last season, as the Caps season swept them before winning the Isobel Cup championship.
On Saturday we got a look at both Riveters’ goalies, as Sam Walther was taken out after letting up six goals. Dana DeMartino made her NWHL debut, letting up just three goals on 20 shots. DeMartino is a name you might recognize from her time as a high school boys’ team starting goalie from Long Island who led her school to a state title before making the transition to women’s hockey in college.
Despite this, Walther played the full game on Sunday and made 34 incredible saves.
On Saturday, the Whitecaps claimed all three stars of the game, as both rookie Nicole Schammel and Jonna Curtis had four points apiece and Amanda Boulier had five. On Sunday, the Riveters cracked the top two with Rebecca Morse who scored the game-winner, and Kendall Cornine who had two goals on the day.
Something I’ve been saying since the first Riveters preseason game was that they needed to work on the number of penalties they take in a game. And on Sunday, it seems they finally applied that mentality, and it paid off for their first win. On Saturday there was a total of 28 minutes served for penalties, 16 of them to the Riveters. This led to two power play goals by the Whitecaps. On Sunday, the Riveters only took three penalties.
Packer tallied her second goal of the season on Saturday, inching closer to Pride captain Jillian Dempsey who leads the league in all-time goals, and Kendall Cornine is now averaging a goal per game so far.
A somewhat shocking stat after three games is the Riveters 86 percent penalty kill rate. This was a team that last year couldn’t keep it together much at all, but specifically with special teams, so to see the numbers jump so high should be exciting for a lot of Riveters fans.
Anna Keys, who was a late Saturday night addition to the Riveters’ roster this weekend, signed on a PTO contract and didn’t make much noise on the ice but will certainly add some much-needed defensive depth to the team.
Going into Minnesota to try and get a sweep is virtually impossible, and I’m sure anyone who follows the Riveters went into the series thinking a split would be completely acceptable, so I’m not stressing the lone loss too bad. It was the Riveters’ second game of the season and they are a team still trying to find their groove with such a high turnover rate in their roster, especially compared to the Whitecaps.
For a season series where the Rivs’ were steamrolled every meeting last year, game two this weekend proved that is a thing of the past. Their goalies can hang in under pressure, they aren’t afraid to get physical in their opponents’ zone, and their offense can be effortless when applied correctly.
We knew going into this season that defense was going to be the main issue. The Riveters played their first two games with just five defenders, which surely put a lot of pressure on them and squeezed as much time out of them as possible. The good news there is Kiira Dosdall, one of the few remaining original Riveters’ members, is slated to join the team in their next game to ease some of that pressure and hopefully help stop anyone from scoring nine goals on them again.
The Riveters won’t play next weekend, but make their return to the ice Saturday, October 26 against the Pride in Boston. The NWHL action next weekend will be two series’ between the 1-2 Buffalo Beauts and the 0-1 Connecticut Whale, and the both undefeated Pride and Whitecaps, which can all be streamed on the NWHL Twitch channel.