There are more than a few players on the Riveters that I believe are seriously underrated and under-appreciated and Shenae Lundbeg is at the top of that list. Jenny Scrivens has 11,000 followers on twitter and Nana Fujimoto has the highest-selling jersey in the NWHL, but they aren't the only goaltenders in New York playing for the Riveters. Lundberg was a standout in both of the Riveters' preseason games and showed unbelievable tenacity and heart battling the relentless Boston Pride after coming in for the second half of the Riveters' home opener in relief of Nana Fujimoto.
Shenae Lundberg's college hockey career at Union was exemplary. She currently holds Union College's records for most saves, most wins, most shutouts, and her 2.98 GAA is the second best all-time at Union. Shenae also holds one of the most impressive records in Division I women's hockey thanks to her 59 save shutout performance against Northeastern early in December of 2014. During her standout senior year with the Union Dutchwomen Lundberg stopped 1,110 pucks in 34 games and posted a .918 SV% despite a personal record of 4-22-8. Putting up those kind of individual numbers with a losing record says a lot about the talent, work ethic, and competitiveness that Lundberg brings to the New York Riveters. She faced an avalanche of shots night in and night out and gave the Dutchwomen a chance to win every night, and it looks like she is ready and willing to do that for the Riveters and take her game to the next level in the NWHL.
Lundberg with a chest save against the Whitecaps in the preseason.
Shenae Lundberg on the ice for the first Riveters practice at Aviator.
Between the pipes Lundberg has sound positioning and great rebound control. As a natural athlete in high school Lundberg lettered in both track and field for throwing and in field hockey for goaltending. Lundberg is a true battler in the crease and doesn't quit on any play even if she finds herself down and out. She has been known to throw a pokecheck out to foil dangling attackers like she did against the FDNY team in the shootout during the Riveters' first preseason game and plays a much more aggressive style in net than Scrivens or Fujimoto do. Lundberg's inner-fire, work ethic, and skill makes her both exciting to watch and effective between the pipes.
Lundberg stopping a breakaway in preseason.
When you meet some hockey players you know right away that they were born to be goaltenders. It took all of ten seconds of talking to the New Hampshire native after the Riveters' second preseason game to know that Shenae Lundberg loves hockey in a way that only a goalie can love hockey.
"I actually love penalty kills... I look forward to it and I know a lot of girls on the kill [look forward to it]."
Shenae was kind enough to answer a few questions for me in a recent interview just before Sunday's game against the Boston Pride. Let's not wait any longer to get to know #1 of the New York Riveters a little bit better.
: How old were you the first time you stopped a puck?
"Thank you for asking and thank you for the opportunity to talk with you about our sport!
I was nine years old when I was asked to be the goalie for the first girl's/women's team with the Hennicker Huskies, the Huskies U-12 girl's team."
MM: When you graduated from Union College in Schenectady, did you have any idea you'd be playing professional hockey in Brooklyn this October?
"After school I was trying to figure out a way to continue playing that would allow for me to continue to work towards trying to make the US national team. It wasn't until I spoke with my friend Scott Fusco who told me to contact Hayley Moore, the general manager of the Boston Pride. I called to chat with her and she was excited and let me know that the Riveters might be looking [for a goaltender] as well. I spoke with Dani Rylan and was invited to a tryout at the Beantown Classic. Our team made it to the championship and I signed with the Riveters before I went on the ice."
MM: What does it mean to you to share this experience with your Union teammate Ashley Johnston?
"Stretch (Ashley Johnston) and I have been friends since I first arrived at Union as a freshman. She is a talented and an off-the-charts bright young woman and I'm happy to have her out front. She will sacrifice it all for her team. So I'd have to say I'm glad she's here!"
MM: Are you starting to get comfortable communicating with the defensemen on the team in practice and in game situations? Are you a big talker when you are in the crease?
"Communication can win or lose a game. I have always been a big communicator and I know that my teammates really appreciate the heads up."
MM: You were one of the invitees to the USWNT's inaugural goaltender development camp in Minnesota last spring, what was that experience like?
"I was really excited, I had been invited to the Warren Strelow National Team Goaltending Camp three times prior to the USWNT's camp, and found that it was more geared to our game. It was not only awesome getting to meet many of the goalies that I have played against, but also to get to work with many different coaches with different styles."
MM: You've had some time to work with Riveters' goaltending coach Jonathan de Castro, can you tell us what he's done to help you prepare for the season?
"Coach Jon is a great coach with an impeccable eye for detail. He is always available to do extra work, which I have been lucky enough to take advantage of."
MM: Have you done anything different to prepare for the season in regards to your training and conditioning?
"My summer regiment was pretty much the same thing I have been doing over the years. I trained with my goalie coach Mike Buckley, the owner of GDS, he has been my coach since the age of 11. My regiment is usually Tuesday and Thursday in the pro group and a private session on Sunday. In the pro group we have a mental session, yoga, and on ice drills for about three hours. When I am not coaching and getting ready for my upcoming season, I'm back on the ice coaching for GDS. I started coaching for pro ambitions at 16 and still do. I usually am on the ice a mixture of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday but do whatever really needs to get done."
MM: The Riveters' three goaltenders are a special group, is there some healthy competition brewing between yourself, Nana Fujimoto, and Jenny Scrivens during practices at aviator?
"We all get along very well, and I say that honestly. At this level everyone here is here to win and I know that we will all be working hard to make one another better, so the best goalie will play. Overall I'd say the competition is pretty healthy."
MM: After the preseason game against the Whitecaps you talked about how much you look forward to the challenge of killing penalties. Has this always been true for you?
"I always like the challenge and opportunity to do the impossible. Stopping a 5 on 4 or 5 on 3 against a great opponent is very rewarding. The PK is just as important a group as the PP and I know all the people involved in killing penalties for the Riveters are up for that challenge."
MM: Your positioning and rebound control in the preseason were both exceptional. Can you talk about your playing style and the key influences you had as a young goaltender growing up in New Hampshire?
"I have had the same coach since the age of 11. I have also had the opportunity to train with some of the best goalies in hockey like Jonathan Quick, Casey Desmith, Paul Dainton, Brian Foster, and John Muse. I was a training partner, back in 2009, with Chanda Gunn the former USA Olympian. Being around incredibly talented and hardworking goaltenders has shown me the ropes and what it takes to be a respected goalie."
MM: I'm sure you have already faced more shots from your teammates in practices and warm ups than you can count. I know it's cliché, but I have to ask- which of your teammates has the best shot?
"Haha! I wish I could say one, but everyone on the team is incredibly talented and has a very good shot, if they didn't they wouldn't be here playing at such a high level."
MM: What are your impressions of Brooklyn thus far?
"I love Brooklyn and have been received very well. I live in the Rockaways and it's funny because it is the location where one of my family's favorite movies was filmed, Woody Allen's Radio Days."
MM: What is Shenae Lundberg doing when she's not stopping pucks for the Riveters?
"I love the sport and I'm usually back on the ice coaching the next generation of Riveters! I also love taking pictures so I do a lot of photography. I am also a huge animal person and I looking to volunteer or potentially get a job at the humane society helping with animal rescue."
Lundberg stretching before making her debut at Aviator on Sunday.
MM: There are girls who will pick up a hockey stick for the first time and dream about playing in the NWHL, what does it mean to you to be one of the women inspiring those girls?
"It's very humbling, there is a lot of responsibility that comes with being a role model and I take it very seriously! However, with that being said it is important to know how to have balance in your life, so I also remember to have a good time."
MM: Is there anything you'd like to say to Riveters fans?
"If you want to see some of the best hockey around, come on out to our games- you don't get to see women play at this level on a consistent basis!"
A big thank you to Shenae for taking the time to do this interview during an exceedingly busy few weeks for her and the New York Riveters. The way she battles in net and the passion she has for the game will undoubtedly catch the eyes of both fans and the media this season.
You can support Shenae by grabbing her jersey here and get to know her even better by following her on twitter: @lundberg_s1. Shenae Lundberg and the New York Riveters will host the Connecticut Whale at Aviator Sports and Events Center in Brooklyn this Sunday in pursuit of their first win of the season. The two clubs met for the first ever NWHL season on October 11th when the Whale won 4-1 over the Riveters at Chelsea Piers in Stamford, Connecticut.
Thanks for reading. Let's go Riveters.