Here are some quotes from the Riveters' head coach Chad Wiseman as well as players from both the Minnesota Whitecaps and the New York Riveters following Sunday's exhibition game Chelsea Piers New York. The Players and coach Wiseman were made available to the media after the game.
The Whitecaps' thoughts on the game and playing the Riveters
When I asked Monique Lamoureux if she thought that playing on Saturday helped the Whitecaps with dominating the transition game on Sunday she shared her thoughts on why the Whitecaps were successful against the Riveters at Chelsea Piers.
"Absolutely. I'm 'D' and Schleper is playing 'D' right now. We're pretty aggressive and we like to step up and so when we step up and pick it off and break up a play we want to get the puck right back to our forwards so they can catch them off guard. It helps when you have fast forwards like Allie Thunstrom, Joceyln [Lamoureux], Rachael Bona, and Meghan Lorence."
Monique Lamoureux and Anne Schleper also shared their thoughts with me on the physicality of the game and whether or not it was more physical than they thought it was going to be.
"To be honest, no. Yes, it was pretty physical. I think we expected that today. They're a pretty big team, on average they're a lot bigger than we are. We kind of figure whenever we come into these games that they're going to be physical. Schleper and I both played in the CWHL and those games are just as physical."
"I think it takes a lot of people by surprise, the women's game. When they see at this level the games, the pace, and then obviously the physicality. People are expecting, 'Oh, no checking, they can't even touch other!' It's not basketball, you know. We're here to play physical and aggressive and that's what comes out of it."
Anne Schelper of the Minnesota Whitecaps
When asked by Kate Cimini from Today's Slap Shot Jessie Vetter also shared her thoughts about facing off against the both of the Riveters' goaltenders including Nana Fujimoto.
"I think it was a good game, I think we came in knowing a few players and not knowing a lot of [others] just because we're all a little older and I think they are more current and out of college. I know Shenae, we've known each other for awhile, I saw her in May. I know about the Japanese goalie as well, and I'm excited that she has an opportunity to come over here and play and kind of experience a different league than she's probably used to. I think they're a good team."
-Jessie Vetter, the Whitecaps' goaltender
Jessie Vetter and Allie Thunsrom of the Minnesota Whitecaps
Regarding Nana Fujimoto, Lyudmila Belyakova, and Sydney Kidd
Through her translator, Nori Matsuura, Nana Fujimoto responded to being asked what it was like to finally get on the ice with her teammates and how challenging it was to play on Sunday after arriving in the United States on Saturday.
"She was glad she could be on the ice the day after coming to the United States, of course she is really tired, though."
-Nori Matsuura translating for Nana Fujimoto
I asked coach Wiseman how it felt to get Nana Fujimoto on the ice and when the club was expecting to have Lyudmila Belyakova and Sydney Kidd join the team. Both players did not appear in the Riveters' two preseason games.
"It was great to have Nana, for having a long trip yesterday she looked pretty good today. I heard they're both coming in this week, but I' don't know."
Nana Fujimoto made her debut for the Riveters on Sunday. It was her first time on the ice with her new teammates.
It looks like Belyakova, at least, has arrived in New York. She was training with her teammates earlier today at Aviator Sports and Events Center, the Riveters' home rink.
I also asked Chad Wiseman how he was going to use Sydney Kidd, the Riveters' most recent (and final) signing. Kidd has three years of experience playing defense at the college level and one year's experience of playing forward with the University of Western Ontario Mustangs.
"I'm hoping [Kidd] wants to play defense."
On the team's chemistry
I asked the trio of Riveters' players that were available to the media after the game how they felt about the team's chemistry with the regular season just a week away.
"Actually I really like everyone! I have enjoyed playing with a lot of people. We do have a lot chemistry, which is great. I think [coach Wiseman] is just trying to mix and match the lines just to see who does have the best chemistry. We're still working it out but I think a lot of people do [have chemistry], so that's nice to see."
"For me it's nice to see how the defense play, because they all play different and some of them read things differently. So, it's nice getting to see them in games instead of in practice because games are definitely different even when you work on certain plays in practice, it's different."
"Chad said the whole season he's going to be moving people around and trying to find the best fit. Just like any team we've all been on, the lines can change any night. So I think just adapting to other players and recognizing what they do well on the ice with other linemates and then maybe when you're with them and recognizing their strengths. As a hockey player you have to adapt and learn from others and read off of each other and communicate."
I asked coach Wiseman if there were any potential lines developing and whether or not he liked what he was seeing out of Beth Hanrahan and Janine Weber who have frequently been deployed together.
"We've definitely tried some stuff out during the game we mix and match the lines at certain points of the game. I think they had a few nice shifts together today and they scored when they had Erin with them. Packer and Ammerman look pretty good together. Again, we'll go back to the drawing board this week and play around with the lines to see what we come up with for the weekend."
It appears that Wiseman and DeSimone are working to keep certain pairs of forwards together like Hanrahan and Weber and Ammerman and Packer and cycling the third forward on those lines. In the preseason Weber, Ammerman, and Barley-Maloney have all been regularly deployed as centers. Thus far Wiseman's done well to get the most out of his forwards and learn as much about his team in the little amount of time it has been together.
On the penalties and the penalty kill
I asked coach Wiseman about the apparent confusion with the delay of game calls that seemed to frustrate the Riveters in the game. The Riveters were called for delay of game twice during Sunday's game for clearing the puck out of play from within their own zone.
"I don't know if that's a rule, that's not a rule in the league but they're playing it today. We didn't know. We didn't think they were playing it, it is what it is, it's not the end of the world."
When I asked about whether or not Shenae Lundberg enjoyed the challenge of facing penalty kills she couldn't help but flash a smile.
"I actually love penalty kills. It's a little frustrating when they're silly penalties, we didn't even know about the shooting into the net, so stuff like that is frustrating. I look forward to it and I know a lot of girls on the kill [look forward to it]."
Lundberg warming up before Sunday's game.
Nana Fujimoto also said that she benefited from the challenge of all of the penalty kills the Riveters faced because of the volume of shots she was able to face in her first game with her new club. She felt that it helped get her into the game.
It was clear from their faces both on and off the ice that the Riveters were frustrated with the eight minor penalties they took against the Whitecaps. As Monique Lamoureux said the Riveters are a big, physical team and staying out of the box might be something that the club struggles with this season, especially early on. Thankfully outstanding defenders like Ashley Johnston and Elena Orlando will be on the ice to help all three of the Riveters' exemplary goaltenders.
Looking ahead to Sunday's sold-out season opener against the Whale
When asked about what Wiseman knew about the Whale after scouting them on Saturday during their game against the Minnesota Whitecaps the coach had the following to say about the Riveters' first regular season opponent.
"We watched them play yesterday, just wanted to get an eye out there and see what's going on. They look like they're a pretty solid team, they skate real well, a lot of energy, and aggressive. At the end of the day we're just worried about us. We're going to worry about our systems and how we play them and if we play our systems effectively, we'll be fine."
When asked if he had any inclinations about who the club's starting goaltender was and would be for Sunday's game, the coach played his answer close to the vest.
"We'll make a decision this week, we'll talk to our goalie coach John and see the girls in practice and make a decision before Friday."
The Riveters' bench boss also addressed how he'd be using the versatile Erin Barley-Maloney who was being considered to play both as a forward and as a defenseman for the Riveters.
"I think she's a forward. She's made it pretty clear she's a forward. We used her on the point on the power play, she has some experience there. As far as I know she's just a forward."
Shenae Lundberg and Erin Barley-Maloney also shared their thoughts on Sunday's loss and what the team will be doing to change gears for their regular season opener against the Whale.
"I think we had a pretty good warm-up. So going into it I was pretty hyped up and ready and I think the girls were too. Personally, I felt pretty on. There were a lot of blocker shots in the beginning so I got to kind of just work on blocker for a little while. But, ultimately, I think we got to see what we needed to work and we'll able to do that easily in practice. It's just being able to see what areas need to be focused on and I know coach Chad will get us in shape for it."
"Yeah, we're still working out the kinks a little bit. Overall I think we did well, we just have to work on our special teams. I think they had three power play goals? So, will work on that a little bit, like Shenae said. Everyone played great and we have a lot of confidence in our goalies."
Erin Barley-Maloney on the dot.
The Riveters will practice twice this week before they open their regular season on the road against the Connecticut Whale in Stamford, Connecticut. That game will be the NWHL's first game of its inaugural season and it has already sold out which is fantastic news for not only the Whale, but for the league as well. The game should be available on the league's upcoming streaming package called Cross-Ice Pass but as of today there have yet to be more details released about the much-anticipated streaming service. The Riveters' home opener will be played on October 18th when they play host to Hilary Knight and the Boston Pride at Aviator Sports and Events Center in Brooklyn, New York.
A story line to keep an eye on for the Riveter's first game will be where Sydney Kidd plays and what the defensive pairings on New York's blue line. I don't think we'll see Johnston and Orlando split up, but with another solid defenseman joining the fold we might see some mixing and matching through the first few games of the season if not for the entirety of the season while Wiseman tries to find his defensive pairings with his short bench. It's safe to assume that Nana Fujimoto will get the nod in net for the Riveters on Sunday, but I wouldn't be surprised if we see Scrivens and/or Lundberg make an appearance in the club's first few games of the season. The Riveters' goaltending depth is the best in the league and they have an advantage of going with whoever looks on top of their game in practice or matches up well against the opposition.
Thanks for reading. Let's go Riveters.
Note: all photography is credited to Mike Murphy.