It has been a week since the infamous game between the New York Riveters and Connecticut Whale which included a brawl and a blowout. The consequences of that game will be felt today when the two teams play each other tonight at 7PM at Ingall's Rink on the Yale campus. Both clubs will be missing players due to suspensions stemming from the melee, with Elena Orlando out for New York and Micaela Long out for Connecticut.
In addition to the roster losses from suspensions, the Riveters will be without Ashley Johnston and Madison Packer because of upper-body injuries. This means that the team will be missing their first defensive pairing and will likely be forced to play with only four natural defensemen. Taylor Holze also remains out of the lineup. However, there is good news with Brooke Ammerman making her return tonight after a hand injury sidelined her for two games. Ammerman's presence in the offensive zone will be needed if New York hopes to win with such a depleted lineup.
On the other end of the ice, the Whale will be looking to build on their 6-1 victory over the Riveters last week while maintaining their composure. Shiann Darkangelo scored a hat trick in that game and Connecticut did not falter or fade even as the night devolved. The loss of Micaela Long will force some adjustments, but the team is in a much better position regarding their roster when compared to New York.
The Riveters will need stellar performances from their goaltender and forward group if they expect to win tonight. Ludmila Belyakova may just be the answer to that call, especially given her play as of late. The young Russian has scored three goals in her past two games and has been dominant in the offensive zone. The addition of Brooke Ammerman potentially gives the Riveters a legitimate one-two punch of dynamic forwards.
Concerning the depleted defensive corps, everyone on the New York blueline will need to play a consistent, intelligent, composed game. Gabie Figueroa has had a rough stretch as of late and Amber Moore will be seeing more minutes than she is used to, but it is essential that they rise to the occasion.
Use this as your open game thread tonight and stay tuned for the post-game analysis leading into the game tomorrow against the Boston Pride.