The New York Riveters looked to start off the season on a high note as they took on the Connecticut Whale. Unfortunately things didn't exactly go their way as they fell by a score of four to one. Here's how the action unfolded.
The Riveters quickly started off by getting the puck deep into the zone, but couldn't get any shots on Jaimie Leonoff. After a brief back and forth, the Riveters Nana Fujimoto was tested and made the first two saves in league history. Only a minute and 44 seconds into the game, Kiira Dosdall took the first penalty for interference.
The Whale ended the power play pretty quickly. Jessica Koizumi got a quick wrister past Fujimoto to score the first goal in league history. The Riveters never managed to clear the zone on the penalty kill.
The Riveters got their first power play chance with 16:05 remaining in the period thanks to a boarding penalty, a four on three due to matching roughing penalties earlier in the period. They had five shots on net even after the matching roughing penalties expired, but couldn't put anything home.
8:15 into the period Ashley Johnston took a hooking penalty and put the Whale back on the power play. The penalty kill didn't look smooth at all, but they managed to kill it after a diving Brook Ammerman managed to clear the zone. Neither penalty kill looked all that great to start.
A "let's go Riveters" chant started up, but the Riveters just were not clicking. It had been a few minutes since they last generated a shot on net, something that didn't go unnoticed by the play-by-play team. In fact, the play-by-play time didn't have many kind things to say about the Riveters as there was sloppy play abound. The team was putting up plenty of shots, but they came in spurts and then they would fail to put up anything for minutes on end.
The Riveters caught a break at about the 16:30 mark when the Whale got caught on a change and Lyudmila Belyakova had a very nice chance on the break. Unfortunately Leonoff made an even better save to keep the score at one nothing.
New York got some decent chances at around 17:53 into the period but couldn't put the puck home. The Whale were back on their heels however and Danielle Ward took a penalty trying to keep the puck out. They saw a great opportunity when Madison Packer got pass over to Brooke Ammerman in the slot, but Leonoff was stopping everything. The Whale cleared the puck and the Riveters wouldn't get any other great chances on the power play after that. The period came to an end as the Riveters trailed by a score of one to nothing. Shots were 16 to ten in favor of the Riveters.
The beginning of the period was very back and forth with not a lot of sustained zone time, but plenty of opportunities. Both goalies had to make a few saves, but the play was mostly in the neutral zone. The pace still seemed quicker and both teams looked much better than they did in the first.
The Riveters had a great one time attempt from Bray Ketchum but couldn't get it home. The puck stayed in the zone and a few moments later Ammerman put it home for the first goal in Riveters history and the first shutout would have to wait. The Riveters had tied it up, but the lead would be short lived.
The Whale had the puck in the Riveters zone and a delayed penalty was called. Kelly stack got control of the puck off of a rebound and put the puck home and gave the Whale a two to one lead. Everyone seemed to be perplexed where the penalty was.
The Riveters may have received a makeup call moments later. The Whale looked like they had made the score three to one, but there was some collision with Fujimoto and the goal was waived off. It did appear that there was some legitimate goalie interference though. It was officially called a "crease violation."
The Whale caught a two on nothing breakaway moments later. The Riveters closed it out pretty quickly however and the Whale didn't get a shot off as the pass was errant. The play was a bit sloppy on both ends.
The Riveters regressed back to their poor first period play and were stuck watching the puck for moments on end again. The Whale had the puck in the zone on a five on five and it looked like the Riveters were on the penalty kill it was that bad. They finally got the puck up into the Whale's zone, but the breakout was weak and they didn't generate any chances.
It was later in the second period and the Riveters weren't quite entering the zone as efficiently as possible as everything was coming off of zone entries. That changed when Packer forced a turnover and skated in on net with a great had a great opportunity. Leonoff was able to stop that one, but things seemed to click and they were able to put up a few quality zone entries and get multiple shots on net. They weren't able to convert on any of them however and trailed entering the second intermission by a score of two to one, mostly due to the great play by Leonoff. Shots were 29 to 19 in favor of the Riveters.
The Riveters started off stronger than they in the previous periods and the Whale couldn't break out at all. The Whale were able to limit the Riveters to bad angle shots however - they might have been going into a bit of a shell. This would change about five minutes into the period when New York went to break out, but got caught with an icing.
The Whale took control from there and were dictating the pace of play for the next few minutes. They had a couple of decent opportunities which would lead to another Riveters icing. That
The Whale caught a lucky break off of a bad bounce. The puck was deflected wide of the net off of a shot by Stack and wound up wrapping around behind it. Babstock shot the puck off of the skate of Fujimoto to put the Whale ahead three to one.
A few moments later the Whale all but put the game away. The puck came off a rebound and Shiann Darkangelo was able to put it home. The Whale lead four to one and the Riveters needed a miracle to come back.
Things began to get a bit chippy after the Whale generated another quality chance off of a rebound. Yekaterina Smolentseva and Elana Orlando got into a scrum and drew matching roughing penalties. The four on four play saw some relatively harmless opportunities on net.
The Riveters never regained their sense of urgency from there. The Whale were able to close out the game with ease as they went on to win by a score of four to one. The Riveters will have to wait another week to pick up their first win.
Third star - Babstock
Second star - Stack
First star - Leonoff