This weekend the New York Riveters search for their first win in two games against the Buffalo Beauts. Today’s game takes place at 3:30PM EST and can be viewed (free) via live stream on the NWHL’s YouTube page.
This will be the first time that New York state’s two NWHL franchises meet this season. The Riveters are currently 0-3-0 in the early stages of this season. Before the Four Nations Cup break they allowed six goals and allowed a disappointing 15.
Hopefully a two-week break in the action will have allowed the Riveters’ injured players to heal up. It also might have given the team some time to adjust their game and get more comfortable with Wiseman’s system. We shall see.
Buffalo comes in to today’s matinee contest with a record of 1-2-1. Their single shootout lost came at the hands of the Boston Pride. And, impressively, their win came against the high-scoring Connecticut Whale. The same Whale team that defeated the Riveters 4-2 in Newark on October 16th.
Buffalo’s top line is powered by former Whale forward Shiann Darkanagelo and (when she’s in the lineup) Kelley Steadman. Steadman has scored four goals in just two games this season. If she’s dressed this afternoon, Michelle Picard and the Riveters’ blue line will have their hands full.
But it’s Buffalo’s blue line that truly sets them apart. The Beauts look to their impressive blue line for offense more than any other NWHL team. Megan Bozek, Emily Pfalzer and Anne Schleper all represented the USWNT and won gold at the Four Nations Cup last week.
Buffalo thrives on their special teams play. The Riveters need to stay out of the box today. And, more importantly, they need to find a way to score some goals and win the possession battle.
Player to Watch: Tatiana Rafter
Whether or not Amanda Kessel is making her return today is a big story, but Rafter will be the player to keep an eye on in Buffalo. This afternoon’s game is her first against her former team.
Rafter has quickly emerged as one of New York’s best skaters. Her speed, size and balanced game make her a key top-six forwards. She’s been kept out of the box score since scoring a goal in New York’s first game, but there’s little doubt that she has been one of the team’s best forwards.