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Whitecaps Continue the Riveter's Losing Streak Making It 4 Straight

J.J. Pavlick


The Riveters entered the weekend in desperate need of a series sweep against the Minnesota Whitecaps. The Riveters fell out of the 4th seed last weekend when they dropped both their games one to now 1st place Boston and then the other to now 5th place Connecticut. The Montreal Force leapfrogged both the Whale and Riveters this weekend to take the coveted 4th seed. The Rivs can't afford to drop any more games this season if the league decides to go with the top-four playoff format. Katie Burt has put in non-stop stellar efforts in goal, but unfortunately, unforced errors continue to plague the Rivs this season.

The weekend saw the Rivs jump out to great starts in the first period only to surrender the lead later in the second period. In both games, the 1st period saw a 0-0 finish and two teams battling hard through a rink cut up and beat up by speedskaters just a few hours before their games. To say the ice was chippy and saw odd bounces all over is an understatement. It's one of the downsides to not having your own rink and not being able to have a say in who uses it before games. The good news for the Rivs is this is just a 3-year deal while they secure a permanent home. The Dream offers some advantages and some disadvantages to the home side. This weekend was the disadvantage as well as the holiday season which forced the Rivs to play 7 critical games all on the road with no home game relief in between. The advantage the Rivs have is they're the only team that trains and plays in a mall with odd sightlines. The last 4 games have been great crowd-wise for the home side and a good sign of things to come in building a solid fan base. It's also brought in new fans to the game that may not have become fans if not for the mall atmosphere putting them in the position to recognize women's professional hockey and how great it is.

The 1st-period intermission interviews were with Regan Rust in Game 1 and Amanda Pelkey in Game 2.

The second period would be the period the Rivs would open up the scoring and take the lead. In game 1 it was Sarah Forster who scored a nice goal off a feed from Amanda Pelkey and Kennedy Ganser at the 15:25 mark of the period. She fired home a beauty from the bench side circle over the blocker of Leveille. Sarah Bujold would open the scoring in Game 2 for the Riveters with assists from Kelly Babstock and Ebba Berglund at the 3:13 mark of the period. Game 1 saw Minnesota score 2 goals at the end of the period via deflections via screens. Something the Riveters have struggled to defend and due to other teams. The goals came at the 17:15 mark via Stephanie Anderson assisted by Sydney Baldwin and at 19:44 via Brooke Madsen assisted by Sydney Baldwin. In Game 2 Minnesota would score 3 times twice via the PP and one even-strength goal. The goals would be scored by Liz Schepers, Sidney Morin, and Natalie Snodgrrass.

The 2nd-period intermission interviews were with Madison Packer in Game 1 and Kelly Babstock in Game 2.

The third period saw the Rivs trying to mount a come-back in each game. In game 1 Kelly Babstock scored a goal off the rebound by Leveille at the 9:15 mark of the period. The goal was assisted by Fanni Garat-Gasparics and Minttu Tuominen. The Rivs had plenty of chances to tie the game but just couldn't get that final pass or finish from quality areas. Minnesota would hang on in game 1 to secure the 3-2 victory. In game 2, Minnesota would tally a 4th and final blow at 3:47 of the 3rd period on a goal by Denisa Krizova to secure the 4-1 win and complete the weekend sweep.

Overall while the team had the same result as last week they did play better overall. Unfortunately, the turnovers and odd umbrella formation that doesn't include screening the goalie seem to not be working. While head coach Venla Hovi has been mixing the lines up in trying to create more offense the opposite has happened over the last 4 games. Since the team has returned from play, they've been outscored 17 - 4 at home. The Rivs fall to 1 - 5 at home this season, 1 - 7 if you include the 2 preseason games against Buffalo. Before the break, the Rivs had been outscored 34 - 28 with a record of 4 - 6 - 0 11 points. Something needs to change fast for the Riveters for them to hang in the conversation for the playoffs. Hopefully, the trip to Buffalo will see the team get the matchup they need to get all their goal scorers' confidence back. Buffalo is the only team to concede more goals than scored outside of the Rivs this season. Buffalo is -21 and the Rivs are -20 the next team close to either team are Montreal and Connecticut at -1. The Rivs and Buffalo also lead the league in penalty minutes. Buffalo has 108 penalty minutes and the Rivs have 112 penalty minutes. The only teams under 100 penalty minutes are Minnesota, Montreal and Connecticut are also under 100 minutes, but have multiple games at hand still so they could hit the 100-minute mark as well. Every team has had its issues with the refereeing this season and it's no secret to the fans or media. Hopefully, it's an issue that gets fixed sooner rather than later. The biggest issue has been inconsistency in calls, one-second something is not a penalty, and the next it is which drives players nuts.

Look for the Riveters to respond against Buffalo and get the much-needed 6 points to get back into the race for the top 4. With Connecticut and Buffalo playing tonight and tomorrow if Buffalo can win both it would help the Riveters in a big way.

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