The wait is over for Rivs Nation as New York overcame a 2-1 deficit to defeat the Buffalo Beauts. Coming into the game, the Riveters struggled to find their stride as a team. During the two-week Four Nations break, the team was focused on arriving in Buffalo in search of a win, if not two. “We’re still getting to know each other,” said defenseman Michelle Picard in a phone interview prior to Saturday, “I think we felt that in terms of systems... sometimes it’s a feel thing, and that’s what we’re missing.”
By the looks of it, New York was beginning to get a feel for the team identity. Early in the game, New York was much more composed and patient, especially on the power play. “We got a power play goal in the third (period), which is huge,” said Chad Wiseman postgame. “Your specialty teams have to be at the top of their game to win at any level.”
Step in the Right Direction
Although New York still showed low numbers of shots throughout the game (19 shots compared to Buffalo’s 27 shots), the team showed an offensive patience that had been lacking to date. Despite areas for improvement, the team sees Saturday’s performance as a step in the right direction, “Coming out here and winning this game was great for us,” said goal scorer Rebecca Russo. “It was a stepping stone.”
Coach Chad Wiseman agreed. “Obviously losing the first three is a tough way to start the year, but hopefully we can build some momentum and confidence going into tomorrow.”
From the Beauts Corner
While the break was an opportunity for the Riveters to come together as a team, the Beauts may have been impacted negatively. Buffalo had three players — Anne Schleper, Megan Bozek and captain Emily Pfalzer — compete with Team USA in the Four Nations Cup. The absence of key players in the beginning of the second season might have slowed momentum. “When you just start getting the ball rolling and all of a sudden you stop it, and then you gotta get it going again, it’s one of those things that didn’t work well for us,” said coach Ric Seiling postgame.
The Buffalo Beauts are eager to put this loss behind them. “It wasn’t our best performance,” shared starting goalie Brianne McLaughlin. “We need to communicate better and we need to work hard on the battles.” McLaughlin added that starting strong is something the team wants to work on moving forward. The Beauts are notoriously dangerous late in the game; the team is aiming to start with the signature Buffalo-style intensity they bring later in games.
Players to Watch
The home team will benefit from fresh legs in none other than the 2015-16 top scorer, Kelley Steadman. Buffalo is sure to increase their offensive output with Steadman back in the game.
Wiseman confirmed that Fitzgerald, who tallied 24 saves en route to a .923 save percentage, will start the finale of the double header. The rookie from St. Cloud State University will be an integral player in today’s game. As was the case last season, the Riveters feed off the performance of their goalie. If that’s the case, the New York should be fired up and ready to go!
The Fan Zone
And just for fun, here are some Twitter reactions to the Riveters first win:
When you were at the @NYRiveters first 15-16 season win and first 16-17 season win— Syd Kidd (@SydtheKidd4) November 12, 2016
congratulations to @NYRiveters for their first win of the season!!!!!!!! AND CONGRATS TO BRICK WALL FITZGERALD OMG— Yang (@susan__yang) November 12, 2016
Postgame quotes provided by Angelica Rodriguez