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A look at the Riveters at the midway point

New York Riveters Media Day Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New York Riveters have begun their second season with a record of 3-5-2. Things have improved from last year, but eight points in 10 games is a far cry from where the Riveters want to be.

The Riveters are regularly out-shot and they have averaged 2.50 goals for per game and 3.30 goals against per game. Those numbers and the key injuries that the team has battled has resulted in the Riveters’ losing record.

Amanda Kessel, the new face of the franchise, has played just once this year. And key defender Courtney Burke missed five games with a lower-body injury. The Riveters have also had to turn to two rookie goaltenders after Jaimie Leonoff suffered a season-ending injury over the summer.

The inconsistencies and injuries this year have been frustrating, but these are not last year’s Riveters. Talented rookie skaters have made the Riveters a great deal more dangerous with the puck. And some familiar faces from last year’s roster have had big second seasons in the NWHL.

The Riveters’ Skaters

# Name P Ht Nat GP SOG G A A1 P P1 Pts/G ES G ES A PP G PP A ENG SOG/G
# Name P Ht Nat GP SOG G A A1 P P1 Pts/G ES G ES A PP G PP A ENG SOG/G
16 Alexa Gruschow F 5'7" USA 10 12 1 6 3 7 4 0.70 6 1 0.60
28 Amanda Kessel F 5'5" USA 1 2 0 2 2 2 2 2.00 1 1 2.00
10 Ashley Johnston D 6'0" CAN 10 9 2 2 0 4 2 0.40 2 2 0.90
17 Bray Ketchum F 5'8" USA 9 19 2 3 0 5 2 0.56 2 1 2 2.11
6 Courtney Burke D 5'9" USA 5 10 2 1 0 3 2 0.60 2 1 2.00
21 Gabie Figueroa D 5'5" USA 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.67
12 Janine Weber F 5'8" AUT 9 17 2 7 5 9 7 1.00 1 6 1 1 1.89
20 Julia Cheeky Herr F 5'3" USA 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
13 Kaleigh Fratkin D 5'7" CAN 10 22 1 3 2 4 3 0.40 1 1 2 2.20
26 Kiira Dosdall D 5'9" USA 9 9 1 1 1 2 2 0.22 1 1 1.00
14 Madison Packer F 5'9" USA 10 33 2 4 3 6 5 0.60 2 4 1 3.30
27 Michelle Picard D 5'4" USA 10 11 0 4 1 4 1 0.40 3 1.10
73 Milica McMillen D 5'10" USA 10 9 2 1 0 3 2 0.30 1 2 0.90
19 Miye D'Oench F 5'4" USA 10 19 4 4 2 8 6 0.80 4 3 1.90
11 Morgan Fritz-Ward F 5'7" USA 8 13 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 1.63
9 Rebecca Morse D 5'8" USA 6 5 0 1 0 1 0 0.17 1 0.83
18 Rebecca Russo F 5'4" USA 10 20 3 8 5 11 8 1.10 3 5 3 2.00
7 Tatiana Rafter F 5'10" CAN 10 12 1 1 1 2 2 0.20 1 1 1.20
24 Taylor Holze F 5'3" USA 9 7 1 0 0 1 1 0.11 1 0.78
The New York Riveters’ skaters through the first 10 games of the 2016-17 season. Mike Murphy

Slow Starts

Bray Ketchum

Ketchum led the Riveters in goals last year and shared the team lead in points with Brooke Ammerman. Through nine games this year Ketchum has two goals and three assists. Clearly, she misses the chemistry she had with Ammerman.

The Riveters miss Ketchum’s production most on the power play. Last year she shared the league lead in power play goals with Kelley Steadman. This year she has yet to score on the man advantage.

Ketchum is also taking 1.22 fewer shots per game than she did last year when she played wing on the top line. The goals won’t start coming back until the shots do, but until then Ketchum still brings speed and solid two-way play to New York.

Kaleigh Fratkin

Fratkin was one of Chad Wiseman’s biggest offseason signings. The former Whale led all NWHL defenders in scoring last year. But this year she has one goal and three assists in 10 games with the Riveters.

Fratkin has been playing big minutes skating on the top defensive pairing with Michelle Picard. And although her aggressive play has resulted in some costly scoring chances for the opposition, there is no doubt that she is a capable and dangerous defender.

She is the right woman to be pulling the strings on the Riveters’ power play.

The Riveters are hoping for a more productive second half from their highest-paid blueliner. Fratkin has just one point in her last five games but she has been peppering the net with shots. If she keeps that up her numbers could rebound.

Surprises

Janine Weber

Weber, the first player to sign an NWHL contract, was an All-Star last season. She finished her first year with the Riveters with a solid nine points in 18 games.

This year Weber has nine points (seven of which are primary) in her first nine games. Weber’s seven assists are good for second in the NWHL. She trails only her teammate Rebecca Russo.

Last year Weber’s shot assist metrics tracked by Carolyn Wilke suggested that she was better than a 0.50 pts/g skater. And the early returns from this season have proven that theory. She’s been outstanding for the Riveters. Seven of Weber’s nine points have come at even strength.

Madison Packer

Packer leads her team in penalty minutes, but she also has a knack for drawing penalties. And for making things happen in the offensive zone.

One of Madison Packer’s primary assists this season.

Playing wing on the top line Packer has six points in 10 games this year. Last season she had seven points in 16 games. Packer has improved from 0.44 pts/g to 0.60 pts/g while putting almost the same number of shots on net per game.

The alternate captain has been instrumental to the Riveters and the top line’s success. Packer’s strength and passing ability have created some crucial chances and goals for New York this year. She’s been everything her team has needed her to be.

Taylor Holze

No practice squad player in the league has played in more games this year than Holze. Skating primarily on the third line, the unheralded forward has continued her solid play from last season.

This year Holze is shooting more, getting involved in more scoring chances and continuing her sound defensive play. She may only be 5’3”, but there is no doubt that she belongs on NWHL ice.

Mike Murphy

Holze recently scored her first NWHL goal on one of the prettiest plays of the year. After suffering a serious injury last year the fan favorite has found a way to make a difference in the Riveters’ lineup. With Morgan Fritz-Ward retired the reliable and fleet-footed Holze will be a mainstay in the lineup.

Shin and Fitzgerald

The Riveters have asked a lot of their two rookie goaltenders this year. And, all things considered, both of the women who wear masks for New York have exceeded expectations.

After a rough start Sojung Shin has been brilliant in her last two appearances for the Riveters. She brought the undefeated Boston Pride to a shootout and shutout a shorthanded Connecticut Whale team for her first NWHL victory (and shutout).

Katie Fitzgerald has been one of the biggest surprises of the NWHL season. The 5’10” netminder from St. Cloud State earned the first shutout in New York Riveters’ history this year and won Player of the Week honors.

Fitzgerald and Shin’s individual stats may not look all that impressive, but they have both been thrown into the fire this year. Both rookie netminders appear to be getting more comfortable with each period that they play in the NWHL. And that is good news for the Riveters in the second half of the season.