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Fitzgerald and the Riveters grab 3 points over the weekend

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Katie Fitzgerald of the New York Riveters in net in an NWHL game in Newark at the Barnabas Hockey House.
Connor Murphy

The New York Riveters finally won their first game of the 2016-17 season thanks to a stellar performance by rookie goaltender Katie Fitzgerald. And they were tantalizingly close to their second win just 24 hours later.

On Saturday’s game the first and last ten minutes of the game belonged to New York and that proved to be enough thanks to their goaltender. But for the majority of the game the Beauts were the better team, even without Kelley Steadman in the lineup.

Rebecca Russo potted her first NWHL goal to give the Riveters an early lead but the Beauts answered back with two goals of their own in the first period. Kaleigh Fratkin finally broke through to tie the game on the power play 7:49 into the third for her first goal as a Riveter.

New York Riveters defenseman Kaleigh Fratkin talking to the media after an NWHL game in Newark at the Barnabas Hockey House.
Connor Murphy

And with 1:33 left in regulation Fratkin made another big play when she slapped a low shot towards Miye D’Oench. The rookie from Harvard deflected the point shot through Brianne McLaughlin and the Riveters would go on to win their first game of the season.

On Sunday the Riveters were unable to complete the sweep but they did get their third point of the season in an overtime loss to Buffalo. Steadman returned and the Beauts’ power play just could not be stopped.

New York scored the first two goals of the game but former Pride forward Corinne Buie buried two power play goals for the Beauts and All-Star defender Megan Bozek scored a third goal on the man advantage.

In the second period the Riveters had a goal waved off that was allegedly kicked in. It was not a popular call on among Riveters fans on social media.

With 2:12 left in regulation Madison Packer, the heart of the New York Riveters, slammed home the game-tying goal through Amanda Leveille. Fitzgerald made a big stop in the last ten seconds of regulation to send the game to overtime.

In the extra period (4-on-4) Shiann Darkangelo squeaked a puck past Fitzgerald and just over the goal line to spoil the Riveters’ bid for their second win in two days. There was no great angle during the stream that showed that the puck definitively crossed the line, but the ref was right on top of it and motioned for the goal without hesitation.

The game proved to be a battle of special teams that the Beauts won despite Fitzgerald turning in another solid performance. For the moment the starting goaltending job is hers to lose.

The Riveters improved to a record of 1-3-1 thanks to their goaltending and timely late goals this weekend. Their next game is in Newark against the Connecticut Whale on Sunday November 20th.

Riveters Notes:

  • Amanda Kessel is considered “day-to-day” with her lower-body injury. But Wiseman won’t bring her back until she’s at 100%.
  • Courtney Burke is considered 4-5 weeks away from a return. She was injured playing in Boston on October 22nd. Appeared to be a serious lower-body injury.
  • Kiira Dosdall might be out of the lineup next weekend. She went into the boards by Buffalo’s bench hard in the second period after colliding with Kelley Steadman. She appears to have injured her torso. She did not return to the game.
  • Dosdall picked up three assists over the weekend. She had no points in the Riveters first three games of the season.
  • Janine Weber scored the Riveters’ first shorthanded goal of the season on Sunday. She had the team’s only SHG last season.
  • Milica McMillen is the second Riveter to score more than one goal this season. D’Oench’s three goals lead the team. McMillen leads the team in power play goals.
  • Defender Rebecca Morse made her NWHL debut and appeared in both games this weekend.
  • Packer’s goal was her first of the year. She has one goal on 26 shots in 2016-17.
  • The Riveters were dominated on the faceoff dot by Kourtney Kunichika and the Beauts. Alexa Gruschow, who takes the majority of the Riveters’ draws, had a 44.7 winning percentage on draws over the weekend. Kunichika’s percentage was 62.2.
  • Katie Fitzgerald started two games in a span of 24 hours. She allowed just two goals at even strength this weekend. She faced 65 shots against and posted a .908 sv%. She backstopped the Riveters to their first win and then posted 35 saves in an overtime loss. She was sensational. The header save!