Leah Lum Steals the Show
"We need to replicate what we did in the first period and continue it for a full 60 minutes" -Venla Hovi Head Coach
Today's match saw the Riveters with a chance to overtake Toronto in the standings. There was a good size crowd in attendance for the game, especially with the Giants playing a big game at the same time next door. The Little Flyers came to watch the Riveters and were cheering loud from the start of the match till the end.
The game started well for the Riveters it was probably the best period the teams played all season even though the period ended in a tied score. They brought the game to Toronto and played with some tenacity. Toronto would've liked to forget the first 5 minutes of the game where they took multiple penalties and allowed the Riveters Power Play to work and get some solid chances at the net. Even though the Riveters didn't score on either power play the puck movement and flow were a lot better than we've seen from the team. Leah Lum would open the scoring though at the 10:03 mark with a goal off a rebound, it was the first error the Riveters made in the period. Lum skated across the slot and buried the garbage up over the blocker of McQuigge. Toronto would go on the power play at the 11:36 mark of the first period and try to extend their lead. However, Sarah Bujold had other plans, she picked Kati Tabin's pocket in the offensive zone and went straight in on goal uncontested, and fired a rocket over the blocker popping the water bottle to tie the game at one apiece.
Video Credit: ESPN+ and PHF
The 1st period would end with the Metropolitans outshooting Toronto 14 - 9, the score though was 1 - 1 and the power plays were unsuccessful Met 0/3 and Toronto 0/1 and gave up a shorthanded goal in back-to-back games.
In the second period Toronto scored early finishing a mini breakaway on goal, Tereza Vanisova went with the Forsberg, she lowered her shoulder and went in one-handed on goal and slid the puck through the five-hole for the lead. The goal was assisted by Dominika Laskova and Emma Greco. Toronto's lead would hold till they took another bad penalty at the 14:50 mark of the period when Laskova was called for slashing. Bujold would make them pay during the power play scoring at the 15:17 mark to tie the game back up at 2-2. Sarah was left open on the goal line and stuffed the puck inside the post in a wraparound fashion. The goal was assisted by Fanni-Garat-Gasparics and Kelly Babstock. With the goal, Sarah was tied for most goals and points in the league with Toronto's Brittany Howard. The Riv's finished the period committing multiple penalties giving Toronto 1 power play that they failed to capitalize on. The game became extremely gritty and chippy during the last 2 minutes of the period. When the horn sounded to end the period a few players on each team took liberties with each other and the referee crew had to get in to break it up. It saw matching penalties to start the 3rd period.
The second period wasn't as good for the Riv's as the first, it saw the same mistakes head coach Venla Hovi was stressing needed improvement for the team to be successful. The period saw moments of miscommunication and trouble playing the second puck an issue that has plagued the team defensively this season.
The third period started well for the Riv's gaining a two-man advantage on the power play for just under 20 seconds. Unfortunately, they couldn't take advantage of it despite great puck movement and getting Toronto moving all over the ice to try and defend the power play. The Six would take the lead when Lum used the boards to get past Kendall Cornine and put a soft backhander on goal that McQuigge will want back. She made the save but struggled to kick it out before it slowly trickled over the goal line. The game-winning goal put Toronto up 3-2 and they wouldn't look back. Brittany Howard would place the dagger into the Riv's when she scored just 22 seconds later, she saw a behind-the-back pass by Taylor Woods and slammed it into the open goal while falling to the ice. The second assist on the goal was given to Lexi Templeman. The goal would give her team a two-goal lead and gave her sole possession of the lead in goals and points again over Sarah Bujold. The final blow would be delivered by Emma Woods at 14:01 into the period when she stuffed home a rebound into the open net. The goal was assisted by Leah Lum and Breanne Wilson-Bennet. The goal gave the Six a 5-2 lead and would close out the game.
Overall, you can see the improvements coming and the chemistry building, however, it's the small details that have led to both losses for the team this season. The Riveters will face Montreal next weekend for a back-to-back series. The games will be played in two different arenas in Montreal, it will provide a unique challenge for the Riveters but I'm sure head coach Venla Hovi will have them ready for the challenge. The trip to Montreal is part of a 7-game road trip for the team. The longest road trip this season for them, the road trip will see them also face the Minnesota Whitecaps, Toronto Six, and Connecticut Whales. The Whales will be the only opponent that will be one game. The team will return to American Dream on Saturday, January 7, 2023, for a 7 pm ET prime time game with the Boston Pride.