One more piece for the puzzle. The New York Riveters and general manager Chad Wiseman agreed to terms with Boston University forward Rebecca Russo today.
The NWHL’s press release:
Rebecca Russo has signed a contract with the New York Riveters for the 2016-17 season, General Manager Chad Wiseman announced Tuesday. Russo and the Riveters agreed to terms on a one-year, $13,000 contract.
"I'm very excited to be a member of the 2016-2017 New York Riveters team, and I'm grateful to continue my dream of playing hockey after college on a professional level,” said Russo. “I am honored to have signed with this league and happy that women's ice hockey is recognized at such an elite level.”
Russo played 144 games with Boston University, scoring 85 points (37g, 48a). The forward from Westport, CT had career-high totals in goals (15), assists (23), and points (38) her senior season. Russo played with USA Hockey’s U-18 team at the 2011 summer series against Canada.
“My new teammates are a group of extremely talented women and it's very exciting for me to be reunited with some former teammates from Boston University and Shattuck St. Mary's,” Russo continued. “I can't wait for the season to get underway. Thanks to the NWHL for providing me with this opportunity."
Eager to continue her hockey career, Russo will join a swelling rookie class to play in the NWHL for the 2016-17 season.
Russo, a Connecticut native, will be a valuable depth forward for the Riveters with her defensively responsible play. Born in New York City, Russo is an outstanding fit with Wiseman’s brand of hockey. She was an undrafted college free agent.
In each of her seasons at BU she improved her offensive production while being praised for her play away from the puck. Russio is a tireless penalty killer that won’t shy away from blocking shots or sacrificing her body for the good of the team.
Russo scored 36 goals in her last 114 games in NCAA Division I hockey. She set career-highs for goals and assists as a senior with 15 goals and 23 assists in 36 games with the Terriers.
Something that stands out from her box score stats from her college career is how few penalties she took despite her role. In 114 games she took just 12 penalties while scoring five shorthanded goals.
At 5’4” Russo is small on the ice, but her work ethic and energy level make her an ideal fit for the Riveters’ third line. Riveters fans are no strangers to players that play with heart. Russo fits that mold in a big way.
Russo’s signing will be the second-to-last skater that Wiseman signs this offseason.
New York has room for one more forward and goaltender on their salary cap. The Riveters will likely be after a top-six forward like Hannah Brandt and try to find a goaltender with a low cap hit to make signing a top-six forward possible.
On paper it appears that the Riveters have both their energy line and their penalty killers signed. The Russo signing brings New York one step closer to having a winning hockey team in the NWHL’s second season.