The New York Riveters faced off against the Buffalo Beauts, Friday night, in the Isobel Cup Semi-Final that resulted in the Beauts ending the Riveters’ season.
The first period was initially uneventful on the scoring front, however there were three penalties called in the first 15 minutes. The Beauts then executed well on their second power-play of the night resulting in a goal from Megan Bozek. Bozek had the hardest slap-shot in the league last year clocking in at 88 mph, making her a force to be reckoned with.
The period ended with a tripping call on the Beauts’ Emily Pfalzer, which gave the Riveters a power-play to begin the second and unfortunately, the Riveters could make nothing of it. After the penalty kill, Buffalo’s Emily Janiga put the puck in the back of the net on a top-shelf wrist shot to make it a 2-0 game with 18 minutes left in the period.
The Riveters’ Tatiana Rafter then responded 5 minutes later by putting New York on the board, cutting Buffalo’s lead in half. The momentum did not last long as the Beauts’ Janiga returned for another late period goal, making it a 3-1 game heading into second intermission despite the Riveters outshooting their opponent 16 to 9.
Down by two, the Riveters came onto the ice in the third period with a determination and quickness that they hadn’t shown yet. A strong forecheck led to a goal from New York’s Janine Weber just 20 seconds into the period to make it a 3-2 game, and the Riveters did their best to maintain this pace for the rest of the period. The pace ended up being too much to maintain as the Riveters got caught up on a long shift and the Beauts took advantage of the clearly tired team to net another and make it 4-2 to close out the game.
While nobody wanted their season to end, it’s important to realize how far you’ve come as a team. The improvement of going from a bottom tier team to the second seed is well worth recognizing and celebrating.
I had the opportunity to ask Riveters Captain Ashley Johnston her thoughts on what changed this year, she told me it was that the team “executed the systems that [head coach] Chad [Wiseman] put forth and the team bought in.” She then went on to say that the locker-room was one of pride after the game, even in defeat. When asked what was said between her and Coach Wiseman, she stated “We said we were proud. Chad said it, I echoed it.”
While it wasn’t ideal, it caps off a season to remember and build upon. The Riveters are a young squad with a solid head coach and a captain that has a true heart for her team. If the Riveters can build off of this season like they built off of the last one, we are in for some exciting hockey in the seasons to come.