Nana Fujimoto, who was the second goaltender selected in the NWHL's All-Star Draft yesterday afternoon, is back on the ice with the New York Riveters in a new set of leg pads. Fujimoto left November 29th's game against the Buffalo Beauts with what appeared to be a lower body injury. The severity of the exceptional Japanese national team member's injury was unknown until her status was revealed to be "day-to-day" during the NESN broadcast of the Riveters' most recent game against the Boston Pride.
Here is a clip video clip from Riveters' goaltending coach Jonathon de Castro's Instagram account:
Well, it certainly doesn't appear that Nana is having any issues with her trademark quickness. It is interesting to see that there has been a change in her leg pads after her injury. Fujimoto's current leg pads appear to be somewhat smaller than her original pads, which were made by Bauer. If the infectiously delightful goaltender gets the start this Sunday against the Whale it will be interesting to see what impact the new pads have on her game and whether or not there will be an adjustment period that she has to go through.
Nana Fujimoto wasn't the only injured Riveters' goaltender to get back on the ice after battling her way back from a recent injury. Shenae Lundberg also got between the pipes at the Riveters' practice after dealing with a lower body injury that had kept her out of the Riveters' lineup for the last few games. The Union graduate is as hard a working goaltender as there is in the NWHL and has been salivating for a chance to get back on the ice in a game situation after a brief and disappointing appearance against the Pride in relief of Fujimoto in a 7-1 loss to the Boston Pride. With Fujimoto's excellent play and her unfortunate injury keeping her on the shelf, Lundberg has played just 28:56 of regular season hockey after being one of New York's preseason standout players.
Here is a clip of Lundberg in net for the Riveters in their most recent practice:
The big question facing the Riveters now, just two days away from their showdown with the undefeated Connecticut Whale, is which goaltender will get the start on Sunday. Jenny Scrivens' outstanding performance against the Beauts will have many speculating and campaigning for her to get the nod, but in all likelihood we will see either Fujimoto or Lundberg (or both) between the pipes for New York at the Aviator Sports and Events Center as the Riveters look to be the first team to hand All-Star Kelli Stack and the Connecticut Whale a loss. The safe money is on Nana Fujimoto getting the nod, but the starter for Sunday's game is currently uncertain.
Whichever Riveters' goaltender gets the nod on Sunday will have a tough job ahead of them trying to out-duel the outstanding Jaime Leonoff of the Whale who was the first goalie selected in the NWHL's All-Star Fantasy Draft by Team Knight. The Riveters will be trying to avoid their third consecutive loss against a team that they are 0-2 against thus far this season. After their meeting with the Whale this weekend Fujimoto, Lundberg, and the rest of the Riveters will be headed to Japan for a three game exhibition series against Japan's National Team.
Thanks for reading. Let's go Riveters.