The Metropolitan Riveters haven’t played a game since October 27th which featured a tough two-game sweep by the Boston Pride. On Saturday, they head back to Boston in an attempt to beat the Pride for the first time this season. The following day they will be in Connecticut for a game against the Whale who have yet to win a game this season.
One major difference for the Riveters this weekend will be the addition of defender Anna Keys. She signed with the Riveters on a professional try out back in October. After playing two games with the team against Minnesota, she made a significant difference and helped give the Rivs their first-ever win over the Whitecaps in one game. She officially signed with the team on Friday and it will be a game-changer.
Vastly Different Opponents
If the combined .960 save percentage of the Boston Pride goalies isn’t enough to scare you, the +36 goal differential will. There’s simply no way around it, the Pride are an unstoppable force this season. With that being said, they have been held to a few goals over long stretches, and have let up some key goals to keep opposing teams during this same period. Beating them is going to be extremely difficult, but I think on the right day, it can be done.
Alternatively, the Connecticut Whale haven’t won a game yet this season. While statistically, their best shot is against the Riveters. However, I don’t think that’ll be the case this weekend. This team struggles severely with special teams whereas the Riveters can capitalize in big moments on the power play.
Whale netminder Sonjia Shelly will be a tough opponent. Though she only owns a .880 save percentage this season, that’s a lot more indicative of the defense in front of her rather than her play. She hasn’t faced less than 43 shots since October. If she has a stellar game, it really drives the force behind the Connecticut team.
Players To Watch
Leary is a quiet player who I think is due for a big game. She’s the only Riveter with a positive goal differential at the moment. And has consistently high shooting and point percentages in the time she’s been here. Whether she remains an important part in working the puck on the back end, or finally gets her name in the box score, I think she’s going to have a big weekend.
Keys is going to make a huge difference on the blue line for the Riveters. According to the NWHL, she registered a career-high 83 blocked shots, which ranked 6th in the nation and 2nd in the WCHA. This is something the team desperately needs and will relieve some pressure from some of their forwards. This will allow these forwards to focus more on their offensive games.
If Packer doesn’t lead a statistic category, Cornine usually does and together they are a deadly duo. Cornine has found success against Boston before and I think she will have a field day in Connecticut. With enough open ice and if she is left unattended, I wouldn’t be shocked if Cornine can post her first hat trick against the Whale.
Anyone who has watched any minute of NWHL action this season will tell you that it will take close to a miracle to beat Lovisa Selander and the Pride. With that being said, I don’t think the Riveters will pull the upset this weekend. They have shown they are capable of only holding the Pride to four goals – yes, that is impressive this season – and I think with fresh legs they can do that again. I’ll give it to the Pride, 4-2.
Sunday will be a completely different ball game. This will be the first time the Rivs meet the Whale this season. And I think it will be a good testament to how good the team’s matchups with Buffalo will be later in the season. As the closest the Whale have come to a win has been against the Beauts. With confidence, I’ll say the Riveters take this one easy, 5-2.
The first game will be streamed on the NWHL Twitch channel at 6:30 PM on Saturday and the second game will be streamed at 4:10 PM on Sunday.