This afternoon the New York Riveters will once again lock horns with the Buffalo Beauts for the last time in the regular season and likely the last time until next season. The only way New York's two NWHL franchises would meet again after today's game is if they both won as underdogs in the first round of the Isobel Cup Playoffs and met in the Finals.
The Riveters won their last home game of the season against the Beauts last Sunday in the shootout in what was arguably New York's most emotional and important win of the season. Today, in Buffalo's barn, the Riveters are going to have to find a way to win the battle at even strength and stay out of the box against Pfalzer, Steadman, and the Beauts. Outstanding goaltending from Nana Fujimoto and avoiding minor penalties proved to be major factors in the Riveters' victory just seven days ago and if that was a winning recipe then, there is no reason why it shouldn't be again today.
The Riveters need to beat the Beauts today if they want to avoid being the fourth seed and meeting the league's best regular season team in the first round of the playoffs.
Player to Watch: Ashley Johnston
The Riveters' captain affectionately known as "Stretch" has quietly had a solid game against Buffalo last week and it will be largely on her to try and stop Steadman from taking over the game and raising hell in the Riveters' defensive zone all afternoon. It will also be interesting to see if she gets some more power play time with her cannon of
Power Play and Possession Make the Difference for the Riveters
Riveters show resilience and come back to steal a point from the Beauts in an emotional final home game.
a shot after seeing less time on the power play of late. Johnston is one of New York's key players and if they are to have success in the postseason they will need her to play some special hockey. There's no doubt that the Beauts will be bringing their best today on their home ice and their at times explosive offense will be a real test for Stretch and the rest of the Riveters' defenders.
After today's game the Riveters will wrap up their season on the road against the only team in the league that they haven't gotten two points against: the Connecticut Whale. Each period of play that the Riveters play brings them closer to the postseason. The wrinkles need to get ironed out, the system needs to be perfected, and the hockey has to be better if the Riveters want to get their hands on the first-ever Isobel Cup and shock the world of women's hockey. There's a chance that the road to the Isobel Cup starts today in Buffalo against the diminutive and dynamic Beauts.
Let's go Riveters.