The New York Riveters took on the Connecticut Whale less than a week after their fracas-filled blowout loss last Sunday. They would have to play with a shortened bench, with Elena Orlando being suspended for one game, and Ashley Johnston, Madison Packer, and Taylor Holze out with injuries.
Nana Fujimoto got the start for the Riveters in net, and was tested early by the hot Connecticut Whale. Just 2:04 into the first period, Shiann Darkangelo fired an innocent shot from the top left point that tipped off Fujimoto’s outstretched glove and over her shoulder into the net. Just like that, Darkangelo and the Whale had a 1-0 lead. After failing to convert on a power play and a 5-on-3 player advantage, the frustrated Riveters took a too many players on the ice penalty with 7:34 remaining in the first. The penalty would prove fortuitous, however, as 33 seconds after becoming shorthanded, Janine Weber was able to steal the puck in the offensive zone and tuck it under the pads of Jaimie Leonoff to tie the game at 1. The period would end in a 1-1 stalemate.
The first half of the second period was all Connecticut. They ratcheted up the pressure substantially on the shorthanded Riveters, but had nothing to show for it, as Fujimoto came up with save after save. The Whale were finally able to break through just past the midway point of the second. A broken play in front left the puck sitting next to the crease, and Danielle Ward was able to clean it up and give the Whale a 2-1 lead. Ward wouldn’t be done yet, though. Five minutes later, she was able to beat Fujimoto again, this time chipping the puck over Nana’s left shoulder as she hugged the post. It was a frustrating goal for the Riveters, and the Whale led 3-1. With a couple minutes left in the second, Morgan Fritz-Ward came oh-so-close to making it a one goal game, as a shot she threw on net got past Leonoff and danced on the goal line before rolling wide. The second period would end with the Riveters trailing 3-1.
The third period started with some back-and-forth action before Janine Weber was able to draw a cross-checking penalty going hard to the net. On the ensuing power play, Brooke Ammerman beat Leonoff with a quick blocker side shot, and the Riveters deficit was now 3-2 with 16 minutes remaining in the third. Through the middle of the third, the Riveters were unable to capitalize on another power play, and the lack of depth on the bench was beginning to show. A lot of zone exits and entries became stretch passes and chips-and-chases. With 6:49 to go in the third, Kelly Babstock found Kelli Stack wide open on the left side, and Stack was able to beat Fujimoto to give the Whale that all-important insurance goal. The two-goal lead would be short lived, however, as two minutes later, Brooke Ammerman tipped an Amber Moore point shot past Leonoff, and cut the Whale lead to 4-3. The Riveters seemed to have momentum on their side, until Morgan Fritz-Ward took an illegal body checking penalty with 2:31 remaining in the third. The Whale failed to score on the power play, but they were able to stave off a Riveters tying goal, and the game ended in a 4-3 Connecticut win.
There was a lot of good to come from this game. For a team as shorthanded as the Riveters were, they hung with a very good Connecticut Whale team. Brooke Ammerman had a great first game back from her injury, scoring two goals on three shots, and earned the second star of the game. Bray Ketchum had a great game in her return to Yale Ingalls Rink (Yale class of 2011), notching an assist on Ammerman’s power play goal and registering 7 shots on net. Nana was able to shake off that early fluke goal, and give her team a chance to win the game. Overall, while it’s a disappointing loss, it’s one of the more complete games the Riveters have played, especially after losing to this same Whale team 6-1 just a week ago. The Riveters will play again today against the Boston Pride; puck drop is set for 3:00 from the Bright-Landry Hockey Center.