By David F. Pendrys (Eyewitness account checked against official box score.)
BROOKLYN, NY- An improved New York Riveters team and the undefeated Connecticut Whale met on a Sunday night out at the airfield. The result was a 3-1 Whale win, but the Riveters kept it close. Nana Fujimoto made her third start of the season, opposing the Whale’s Nicole Stock.
The normally stringent Riveters penalty killing unit gave up two power play goals, though the team gave up none during even strength play aside from a late empty netter. The lone Riveters goal came on the power play as well.
With Lyudmila Belyakova in the penalty box, Danielle Ward moved to Fujimoto’s left, but she passed it to Alyssa Wohlfeiler who shot it past the keeper before she could slide in front of it. The period would end with no further scoring.
In period 2, the Riveters would respond when two quick Whale penalties gave the home team a 5 on 3 advantage. After a passing set up Ashley Johnston got the puck and rocketed from deep center past Stock to tie the game at 1. The assist went to Meghan Fardelmann.
The two squads would enter the third even. After Gabie Figueroa went into the box for High-Sticking, the Whale made the most of their advantage. Kaleigh Fratkin received the puck at the left side point and rocketed it over Fujimoto’s shoulder for a 2-1 lead.
The Whale would hold off the Riveters often furious attempts to score leading to Fujimoto being pulled late in the game. Kelly Babstock however stole the puck mere seconds after the goalie got to the bench and broke up the left side easily placing the puck into the net to drop the dagger.
The Whale took 20 shots, the Riveters 24. Fujimoto made 17 saves facing 19 shots, and Stock made 23 saves. Babstock won 11 faceoffs and lost 3. Danielle Ward won 6 and lost 1. Stack won 6 faceoffs and lost 6. Brooke Ammerman won 9 faceoffs and lost 16. Janine Weber won 4 and lost 4.
This game also featured the Riveters having another goal they potentially scored being waved a no-goal. It was also the NWHL debut for the Whale’s Tara Tomimoto.
Coach Wiseman seemed much more positive in his post game presser.
Whale Players Jessica Koizumi, Fratkin, and Stock answered questions from primarily Kate Cimini of Today’s Slapshot, and a few from myself.
Additional Notes (A non-exhaustive list of other action including defensive plays that I observed.)
- Koizumi was very effective on the penalty kill, clearing the puck and otherwise being meddlesome during several penalties.
- Fujimoto and Stock both were called upon to make some magnificent saves as they were challenged often.
- NYR’s Ammerman blocked at least one shot.
- The Whale’s Shannon Doyle had several blocked shots.
- Beth Hanrahan of the Riveters cleared a puck after a Whale scoring chance and brought it out for a scoring chance.
- After a save by Fujimoto, Janine Weber cleared it in the second.
- Fujimoto made a save as Stack tried a wraparound.
- CT’s Babstock got the puck in front of the net and drove all the way for a scoring chance.
- New York’s Kiira Dosdall broke up a Whale move up the left before they could turn it into a decent chance.
- The Whale’s Jordan Brickner helped disrupt a point blank shot during a Riveters swarm, before Stock made a save.
- NYR’s Elena Orlando fed Madison Packer in front of the net and she managed a shot.
- Stack fed Micaela Long right in front but Fujimoto had the block.
- Johnston picked up the puck from a mess of people to get it out of the zone.
- At one point Koizumi had a well set up shot but Fujimoto stood in the way.
- Fujimoto and Dosdall combined to stop a Whale attempt.
- Orlando stole it in the Whale zone to keep an attack sequence going.
- The Riveters set up an attack but Doyle interrupted the drive.
- Stack cleared it to Long who bolted up the ice for a shot.
- Orlando had at least blocked shot on the night.
- Dosdall cleared it to Hanrahan who took it all the way for a scoring attempt.
- Packer cleared it setting up a move into the zone.
- As a loose puck moved through center ice Johnston reached it through a pile of Whale to send it up into the defensive area.
- Celeste Brown fed Hanrahan from the back zone.
- Anya Battaglino broke up a Riveters drive.
- Babstock swept in on a breakaway but was stopped by Fujimoto.
- Figueroa and Dosdall disrupted a Whale drive.