Today, the Metropolitan Riveters return to the ice after the winter break to face the Connecticut Whale for the final time this season. After dropping two of the three games this season to the Whale, the Riveters look to even the score this meeting. The only difference in the team is their new starting goalie, Maria Sorokina.
Sorokina signed with the Whale in Sept. 2018 but hasn’t seen a minute of ice time since Finnish goaltender Meeri Raisanen has given the Whale an incredible performance. Last week she was traded by the Whale to the Riveters, and today starts in her NWHL debut against her former team.
It is no secret that the Riveters have struggled a lot this season, with part of that stemming from starting goalie Katie Fitzgerald not excelling in the net as she has done in prior seasons. However, in a matter of just a few weeks, Fitzgerald has been benched for the first time, and now replaced by a goaltender the team traded for.
Hopefully, this can breathe new life into the team, as they have six games left in the season to try and crawl out of last place.
With the exception of this, there is no change to either roster ahead of this game, meaning that Sorokina’s ability to mind the net will make or break the game for the Riveters, who currently sit at 2-8. She will face a great challenge in Connecticut’s top line of Fluke, Mrazova, and Lowenhielm who have combined for a total of 17 points this season.
Sorokina is definitely up to the challenge, as she has played at the highest level of Russian hockey and represented her country in three world championships. In the 2016-17 season, Sorokina led the ZHL in shutouts and posted a 1.59 GAA along with a .926% save percentage.
While it’s hard to gauge the state of the team after a month of no games, and a new goalie, I’m looking hopeful for the Riveters turning over a new leaf in 2019 and making something of the last stretch of the season. I predict a 2-1 win over the Whale today.
This game will be streamed on the NWHL Youtube at 1 p.m.