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Riveters: Chad Wiseman Not Satisfied With Compete Level

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Wiseman and the Riveters know that they have a lot to work on if they want to start winning hockey games.

When talking to the media after last Sunday's lopsided 7-1 loss to the Boston Pride, the Riveters' head coach Chad Wiseman made it clear that he was not satisfied with what he saw from his team.

"Obviously there's a few systems that we have to fix up. I know the girls can do it because we watched them do it for forty minutes in Connecticut. The biggest thing I thought tonight again was compete level," Wiseman said. "Getting beat to loose pucks, that just can't happen in our own zone. We've got to be stronger, we've got to put bodies into the boards, we've got to have better sticks. We'll go back to some compete drills and [working] back on systems this week."

The pride that the Riveters management and coaching staff take in having a hard-working team has been clear since Media Day on September 17th. Although Wiseman was clearly not content with how the Riveters were outworked by the Pride, he made sure to give credit to the opposing team who gave the Riveters all they could handle and then some.

"Boston were snapping the puck around and skating around the ice pretty well for being on the bus for seven hours. It kind of shocked me," Wiseman admitted. "You've got to give them credit, they've got some good players and they're a good team. They move the puck well. [Those] are the kind of things that we have to do better. We have the skill level but we're a systematic team. We have to play our positions and know our roles and as soon as we get outside of those roles, we struggle and it shows."

Taylor Holze, one of the Riveters' four non-contract players, played a more featured role against the Pride than she did in the Riveters' first game against the Connecticut Whale. I asked Wiseman to share his thoughts on Holze's game and her more featured role.

"She's a smart hockey player, she understands the systems," Wiseman complimented. "She's good on the penalty kill and she's not afraid to block shots. She's got a good skill level so we can use her on the power play."

Holze wasn't the only Riveter putting her body in front of pucks against the big guns of the Boston Pride and the Riveters' coach took notice. Although there appears to be a lot left to be desired with the Riveters' even strength play, Wiseman was pleased with what he saw from his penalty killers.

"It was probably the highlight of the game for us. Our penalty kill, I think we only gave up one tonight, but we probably had seven or eight against, at least," said Wiseman. "I think we probably blocked eight or nine shots. That's the kind of stuff I like and those are the little things that are going to help us win games down the road."

Wiseman agreed that the transition game, which was a big area of concern against the Connecticut Whale on October 11th, was better in the second period. Gabie Figueroa's goal came in the second period. When asked who his first star of the game was, Wiseman gave the nod to goaltender Shenae Lundberg. Lundberg may have had more pucks get past her than Fujimoto did, but never stopped battling against the Pride in the third period even when it was clear to see that the wind had left the sails of the Riveters and the hustle and work-ethic that is so crucial to their identity wasn't out on the ice once the game got out of hand on the scoreboard.

Other Notes:

Chad Wiseman confirmed that Sydney Kidd is one of the NWHL players that is currently stuck in Canada with visa issues. The Riveters are going to need Sydney Kidd to be an impact player on their blue line. She played four seasons of defense and one season at forward for the Mustangs at the University of Western Ontario. With Sydney Kidd still not with the team the Riveters have dressed both forward Taylor Holze and defenseman Amber Moore in the club's first two games, both of whom are non-contract players.

Wiseman also revealed that Nana Fujimoto had issues with her equipment during the warm-up and in the locker room and admitted that he was second guessing if it was the right decision to start Fujimoto after the Pride scored on their first shot.

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Ashley Johnston has perhaps been the Riveters most important and impactful player through the first two games of the regular season after being a standout in the preseason. When talking to the media late on Sunday night before returning to sign autographs for some amazingly dedicated and enthusiastic fans Johnston was quick to deflect praise from the media regarding her individual play and focused instead on what she and the team need to do better.

Ashley Johnston

"At the end of the day individual effort doesn't really matter. As a team we didn't really pull together," Ashley Johnston told the media. "Especially myself, I need to be more committed with it, playing the systems. I did not do the neutral zone well." Johnston made it clear that the team as a whole had a lot to work on during Wednesday's (today) and Friday's practice. "You can't lose seven to one, nobody likes that. It's not acceptable."

Johnston made it clear that the defensemen on the Riveters, especially her, needed to work on their conditioning. She was not happy with getting beat a few times in the transition game despite how well she did battling and playing against the Hilary Knight line.

The Riveters will practice tonight and again on Friday night before meeting the Connecticut Whale for the second time in just three weeks. In their first two games of the season the New York Riveters have been outscored eleven to two, which is a seriously alarming ratio for a team that was designed to be all about smart, two-way hockey. After talking to coach Wiseman and standout blueliner Ashley Johnston after last Sunday's game it is clear that the Riveters and their coaches are eager and determined to turn things around in a hurry.

A key to this Sunday's game will be getting off to a strong start. Scoring the first goal of the game on home ice would do wonders for the confidence of a team that is still searching for how they want and need to play to win hockey games in the NWHL.

Thanks for reading. Let's go Riveters