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NWHL Recap: Week 4

Riveters look unstoppable as Pride continue to struggle

Connecticut Whale forward Kelly Babstock goes bar down to win the game in a shootout during a game in Stamford, CT on Nov. 19, 2017. (Photo by Michelle Jay)
Connecticut Whale forward Kelly Babstock goes bar down to win the game in a shootout.
Michelle Jay

Riveters stay undefeated, bury the Beauts 6-3

Nov. 18, 2017; HarborCenter, Buffalo, NY

Riveters goals: Bray Ketchum (1), Alexa Gruschow (2), Jenny Ryan (1), Miye D’Oench (1), Rebecca Russo (1)

Beauts goals: Katherine Donohue (1), Kourtney Kunichika (1), Hayley Scamurra (1)

Recap

What started out as a strong 40 minutes of hockey for the Beauts spiraled into sloppiness once again, as the Riveters scored three third-period goals to preserve their undefeated season.

Katherine Donohue (first professional goal) and Kourtney Kunichika evened the score before the first period was over, after Bray Ketchum and Alexa Gruschow gave Metropolitan a quick lead.

Jenny Ryan and Hayley Scamurra traded goals in the second, as the Beauts broke down periodically but managed to regroup quickly, keeping the Riveters on the ropes for perhaps the first time this season.

But things broke down for good in the last frame, allowing the Riveters to double their goal tally and keep play in the Beauts’ zone for much of the third. While Metro remained composed and maintained an aggressive forecheck and relentless defense, the Beauts’ passing and specialty teams looked off. Buffalo looked especially sluggish in the last ten minutes, something co-head coach Ric Seiling attributed to conditioning issues. Gruschow managed another goal and an assist, and Miye D’Oench also scored for Metro. Former Beaut Harrison Browne also had two assists. Katie Fitzgerald made 18 saves, while Amanda Leveille finished with 31.

Player of the Game

Gruschow got under her opponents’ skin all night and embodied the Riveters’ skilled-yet-pesky style of play, skating hard and taking plenty of opportunities to get in front of Leveille. Her three points earned her first star of the game.

Whale capsize the Pride, come back in shootout 4-3

Nov. 19, 2017; Terry Conners Ice Rink, Stamford, CT

Whale goals: Emily Fluke (1), Kelly Babstock (2) - SO, Sam Faber (1)

Pride goals: Alyssa Gagliardi (1) - PP, Haley Skarupa (1), Emily Field (1)

Recap

What a wild, wild, ride. In this season’s first overtime and shootout game, the Whale showed their resilience, coming back from a 3-1 deficit with less than three minutes left in the third period.

The Pride remain winless but gain a point in the shootout loss. Despite strong goaltending from Brittany Ott, the Pride ultimately could not hold back the determination of the Whale and only converted on one out of seven power play chances.

The Whale started off strong in the first couple minutes of the game, but struggled to defeat the Pride’s effort to double-team every person with the puck. Their passes and shots all missed their targets until late into the third. Surprisingly, it seemed as if Faber’s time at the bottom of a scrum was all it took for the Whale offense to wake up. Babstock scored at 2:26 to put the game within one, and Faber tied it with less than a minute left.

Overtime featured a few big saves on either end of the ice, but the game ultimately went to shootout where Babstock scored the lone goal.

Player of the Game

Babstock had a goal and two helpers in regulation before she sealed the deal in the shootout. Despite being heavily focused on by the Pride defense in the first, Babstock never quit, pulling out spin-o-ramas and nasty slapshots in her attempts to generate offense.