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Pregame: Riveters Look to Sink the Whale Tonight at Home

Will it be two wins in a row for the Riveters or will their big win over Buffalo be forgotten after tonight's game against the only team in the NWHL they haven't beaten this season?

Mike Murphy

The Riveters are coming off of their most definitive win of the season in their 7-3 shelling of the Buffalo Beauts. In that game three of the Riveters' key forwards had multi-goal games to finally unleash the potential of what has been an underachieving offense this season. Meghan Fardelmann scored the franchise's first hat trick, Ludmila Belyakova had a two goal game, and Janine Weber had her long-awaited break out game with two goals and an assist which gave her sole-possession of the point lead on the team. Many are hoping and predicting that the big game against Buffalo will be the game that gets Weber, Belyakova, and the Riveters' offense as a whole going and making a bigger impact.

The Riveters' most recent victory also marked the return of star goaltender Nana Fujimoto to North American hockey. Fujimoto didn't have to be spectacular against the Buffalo Beauts for the Riveters to get the win last weekend so it will be interesting to see what Riveters team we see tonight and what role Nana Fujimoto or Jenny Scrivens will play in the outcome of tonight's game. Will the momentum and home ice advantage be enough to tip the scales and earn the Riveters their fourth victory of the season?

Tonight the New York Riveters will seek to beat the no longer undefeated Connecticut Whale in their first home game since losing in the shootout to Kelli Stack and the Whale in mid-December. The Riveters will come into tonight's game hoping to improve their record to 4-5-1. The last time these two teams met the Riveters found a way to lose and let what looked like a sure win slip away thanks to bad late penalties. The Whale bring a record of 8-1-0 into tonight's game at Aviator Sports and Events Center which makes New York, even with their home ice advantage, the clear underdog.

With Brooke Ammerman on the shelf with her hand injury the Rivs are going to need their skilled forwards to step up and contribute in a big way tonight. Belyakova and Weber will have to lead the charge in the possession battle and make things happen in the offensive zone tonight like they did against Buffalo last Sunday. New York will also have to find a way to stay out of the box despite their physical brand of hockey. Giving the Whale too many chances on the power play is a recipe for disaster and the Riveters have proven time and again that they can't depend on their own power play to make a positive impact. It will also be interesting to see if Taylor Holze returns to the lineup tonight after her scary upper body injury and whether or not the Riveters will go with six defensemen like they did against the Beauts last weekend.

Players to Watch on Connecticut

Kelli Stack

There's no denying that Stack has some of the best hands and most deceptive shots in the league. The shifty forward has two goals, five assists, and 33 shots this season for the Whale and is third on the team in points. There are very few certainties in life but death, taxes, and Kelli Stack attempting a toe drag in each hockey game she plays are among them.

Kaleigh Fratkin

Fratkin is one of the league's most productive defensemen and she leads the Whale in points, assists, and power play goals from the blue line. When Connecticut goes on the power play, Fratkin is a player that opposing teams can ill-afford to give time and space. Her three power play goals this season are more than the entire Riveters' roster has scored and she is exceptional in her own end. Look for her to be an impact player tonight for the Whale.

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The puck drops tonight at Aviator Sports and Events Center at 7:00 PM. Will Janine Weber and the Riveters find their second straight win and find a way to beat the only team in the league they've yet to defeat, or will the momentum from the huge win over the Beauts be snuffed by the outstanding Connecticut Whale? We shall find out tonight.

If you can't make it to the Riveters' home rink you can catch tonight's game on ESPN3:

Click here for the online stream of the game

Thanks for reading. Let's go Riveters!