This afternoon the Riveters will play their final home game of the season in a battle to determine playoff seeding. The Riveters, the four seed, will play host to the Beauts, the three seed, at the Aviator Sports and Events Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The Riveters have been in a brutal ten game stretch where they have gone 1-7-2 including losing their last two games in regulation. New York will be searching for a more effective brand of hockey with the playoffs soon approaching. After today's matinee game the Riveters will play just twice more in the regular season. Next weekend they will finish the second chapter of a home-and-home on the road against the Beauts in Buffalo, and then New York will wrap up the season on the road in Connecticut against the only team they haven't beaten in the regular season.
So, the Riveters could be just 180 minutes away from their first-ever playoff hockey unless sudden death overtime is required in one of their last three games. Although things have been going poorly of late for the Rivs, these final three games offer them an invaluable opportunity to tighten up their game and learn some valuable lessons not only about their opponents, but about themselves as well.
Nana Fujimoto is the expected starter today, but with Chelsea Laden getting the start last weekend today's starter is a bit of a mystery. It would make sense for the Riveters to get Fujimoto, their most talented goaltender, some starts before the playoffs begin so she is on top of her game for their playoff series against either Hilary Knight and the Boston Pride or Kelli Stack and the Connecticut Whale.
Player to Watch for the Riveters: Why doesn't Lyudmila Belyakova get more ice time? I have no idea. No one seems to have any idea. She does, however, have her own rad website now. So go check that out HERE. Belyakova's snipe last week against the Pride was the highlight of the night for New York. Hopefully, we'll see her get more ice time and more scoring chances because she has proven that she can make something special happen when she has the puck.
Player to Watch for the Beauts: If Kelly Steadman is in the lineup she will almost certainly be giving the Riveters' blueliners headaches all day long. Perhaps the most unexpected and unheralded star player in the league's first year, Steadman has been a force of nature when she's been in the lineup for Buffalo.
The puck drops just after 2:00 PM. You can catch today's action HERE streaming for free and live on NWHL Cross-Ice Pass.
Let's go Riveters.