After a one-year hiatus to be with her family as her mother battled breast cancer, Isobel Cup champion Rebecca Russo is back with the Metropolitan Riveters.
Russo’s return is big news for a Riveters team that was in dire need of depth scoring last year. She is second in franchise history in points (41) and tied for second in goals with Bray Ketchum (17). The addition of Russo gives the Rivs another proven top-six scoring winger with a strong track record of creating offense at even strength, which should help balance the team’s top two lines.
The BU alumna began her NWHL career with a bang in 2016-17. She picked up 13 assists in her rookie season, earning her a spot in the NWHL All-Star Weekend in Pittsburgh. In Pittsburgh, she became the league’s new queen of speed when she won the Fastest Skater event in the skills competition. She built off of that strong start with 17 points in 16 games in 2017-18, which resulted in a second All-Star appearance. But the highlight of that campaign was the two points she picked up in the playoffs to help secure the franchise’s first and thus far only Isobel Cup.
In 2018-19, Russo’s production dropped on a Riveters team that struggled under first-year head coach Randy Velischeck. She finished the year with five goals and three assists in 16 games but was able to create offense of her own when she wasn’t on the ice with leading scorer Amanda Kessel. Six of her eight points that year were primary points picked up at even strength.
It’s no secret that Russo is close friends with team captain Madison Packer, but it would be surprising to see the dynamic duo of Packer and Kate Leary broken up in 2020-21. To date, Russo has taken just 54 faceoffs in her NWHL career and never took more than 34 draws in a season during her collegiate career. So, unless Packer moves to center we should expect Russo to be the new engine of the Rivs’ second line.
Russo is the 20th player and 11th forward to sign with the Riveters ahead of the 2020-21 season.