The rivalry between New York City and Boston is integral to their identities. The two regions cannot even agree on a clam chowder recipe. The fierce competition between the Big Apple and Beantown has been played out on sheets of ice dating back to the early 20th century between the Rangers and Bruins, two of the storied Original Six NHL franchises. Last month saw a new iteration of this historic rivalry with two of the NWHL's Founding Four teams, the New York Riveters and Boston Pride.
The NWHL made a brilliant decision to begin their inaugural season with four franchises in hockey hotbeds in the Northeast, capitalizing on preexisting markets and rivalries in Boston, Buffalo, Connecticut, and New York. It did not take long for the decision to pay dividends. Only four games into the season it seems destined that the Riveters and the Pride will be adding their own chapter in the history between the two cities.
The first meeting between the two clubs featured physicality and scoring on a level unmatched in the NWHL season so far, with 30 minutes in penalties doled out and Boston claiming a decisive 7-1 victory over New York. The amount of scrums and physical play raised questions about fighting in the NWHL, which was examined by Kaitlin Cimini of Today's Slapshot. After the game, captain of the Riveters Ashley Johnston summed up the effort. "You can't lose seven to one, nobody likes that. It's not acceptable."
Following a break in the schedule, NWHL hockey returned to Brooklyn where the Riveters would host the Pride in a rematch. New York looked like a different team on the ice, and it was more than just the addition of Sydney Kidd to the lineup. The team was cohesive and exhibited tenacious effort, including scoring two goals a mere 12 seconds apart to take their first lead in team history. They would hold on to secure their first win as a franchise by a 3-2 score.
Now the teams will be facing off for a third time in their past four games on Sunday, November 22 which will air on NESN and be streamed on NWHL.co. Boston will be playing at home in front of their fans for the first time and they are not keen on letting New York return the favor of spoiling a welcome party. When asked after the 3-2 loss what her thoughts were heading into the next game against the Riveters, defenseman Kacey Bellamy of the Pride said with a smile, "Revenge. I think that's really the only word that comes to mind right now."
The fans in Boston are in for a treat for the Pride's home-opener, especially with revenge in mind. The Riveters will be looking to feed off of their first win and string together some victories while the Pride will be looking to bounce back after their first loss. The tensions will be high in the City Upon a Hill. The Riveters will look to climb it as they set their eyes on taking the lead in the season series and rising in the standings.