Buffalo Beauts Give Metropolitan Riveters First Home Loss as they Extend Win Streak to 8
The top two teams in the National Women’s Hockey League, the Metropolitan Riveters and Buffalo Beauts, took to the ice at the RWJBarnabas Health Hockey House in Newark, New Jersey on Sunday for what could be a preview of the 2018 Isobel Cup Final.
The Riveters currently hold the top spot in the NWHL having lost just one game prior to Sunday afternoon, while the Beauts were riding a seven-game unbeaten streak.
Pregame Congratulations to the Gold Medal Winning USA Women’s National Team
Before the action began, the Riveters welcomed Rookie the Batdog, the mascot of the Trenton Thunder, AA affiliate of the New York Yankees. Rookie took part in the ceremonial puck drop. The 2018 gold medal winning USA Olympic Hockey Team, as well as the silver medalist, Team Canada and all the participants that helped to grow the game received a shout out before the game.
The Riveters played a strong, hard fought first two periods, which head coach, Chad Wiseman was happy about. Defender, Kelsey Koelzer, took advantage on the powerplay and got the home team on the board, just over 13 minutes into the opening period, with a slapper past Beauts netminder, Amanda Leveille. Kiira Dosdall picked up the lone assist on the tally.
With 30 seconds left in the first, forward, Rebecca Morse picked up her second career goal to give the Riveters a 2-0 lead heading into the break. Bray Ketchum and Jenny Ryan picked up the assists on Morse’s tally.
In the middle frame, Beauts forward Jess Jones, found the back of the net midway through the period to cut the Riveters lead in half.
Two minutes into the third period the Riveters were able to regain the two-goal lead on a 5-on-3 power play, as forward, Rebecca Russo, was able to get to the loose puck and light the lamp. Koelzer and Dosdall assisted on the goal.
The Beauts were able to manage a comeback, as they went one a scoring spree about seven minutes into the final frame. At the 6:59 mark, Hayley Scamurra lit the lamp. About two and a half minutes later, Maddie Elia, who assisted on Scamurra’s tally, tied the game on the power play. Kourtney Kunichika and Taylor Accursi were credited with the helpers.
Kunichika scored the go-ahead goal for the Beauts at the 11:39 mark of the third period. The Riveters tried to get the equalizer but were unable to get another puck by Leveille the rest of the way.
After liking what he saw through the first 40 minutes, Wiseman felt the game got away from his team when they started to make some mental mistakes and careless play through that final period.
The game marked the debut of newly signed forward, Hillary Crowe a Harvard alumna who played for the Minnesota Whitecaps. She attended the NWHL All-Star Game in St. Paul, Minnesota earlier this month, with the Whitecaps.
Crowe told the media during the post-game interviews that she did not realize how physical the NWHL was. She suffered and early injury in which she had her shoulder wrapped Koelzer also had her shoulder taped, making it known that she would be fine as well.
Rematch Set for March 4 at 3:00 PM
The two teams, which have already clinched a home game in the semifinals of the Isobel Cup Playoffs will return to the RWJBarnabas Hockey House next Sunday March 4 at 3:00 PM for a rematch. Tickets can be found at www.nwhl.zone/tickets.
The Beauts have not lost since they reached a partnership agreement with the Buffalo Sabres just after the New Year. Prior to the 2017-2018 NWHL the Riveters and the New Jersey Devils reached a partnership agreement.
The Riveters home opener, against the Boston Pride was played at the Prudential Center in the first game of a twin bill with Devils who played the Arizona Coyotes in the nightcap.
The Riveters will close out the regular season on the road on March 10 at 7:30 pm as they ship on up to Boston to take on the Pride. The Beauts will be in Stamford, Connecticut for their final game of the 2017-2018 season, with the Connecticut Whale on the docket.
The Beauts will host their semifinal matchup on Saturday March 17 at 5:30 pm, while the Riveters will host their opponent on Sunday March 18 at 7:00 PM. The one game winner, take all, Isobel Cup Final will be held at the home arena of the top remaining seed after the semifinals the weekend of March 24 and 25.