Former Riveters’ star forward Lyudmila Belyakova will play her old team twice this preseason. Team Russia will have a five-game series against the NWHL this September. They will play the Boston Pride once at Warrior Ice Arena and the Connecticut Whale twice at the Northford Ice Pavilion.
The games against the Riveters will come on back-to-back nights at two different New Jersey rinks, including the Riveters new home rink in Newark.
New York Riveters vs. Team Russia. Sunday, September 25th, 4:30PM. Barnabas Health Hockey House at Prudential Center
New York Riveters vs. Team Russia. Monday, September 26th, 7:00PM. Mennen Arena in Morristown, NJ
These games will hold special significant for Belyakova who was not re-signed by the Riveters this offseason.
Chad Wiseman was criticized for his deployment and usage of Belyakova last season. She was taken off of the first line after debuting there early in the season and was not used on the top power play unit.
It appeared that Belyakova never won the confidence of her head coach despite her exceptional puck skills and hustle away from the puck. She was likely the most offensively talented player on last year’s roster, though she was rarely given the opportunity to showcase her skills.
Belyakova managed to finish third on the team in points despite missing three games due to injury. She was also one of just four Riveters to score a goal in the postseason.
It will be interesting to see how Belyakova plays against her old teammates and her former head coach. She certainly will have an opportunity to make a statement skating against the Riveters for the first time since they were eliminated by the Pride in the Isobel Cup Playoffs.
Season ticket holders can attend preseason games for free with tickets provided by the league via email. All tickets to preseason games are available on the NWHL website for $5.