Whitecaps Sink Riveters Late
By J.J. Pavlick
The two teams return today to battle once again, the game yesterday saw the Whitecaps narrowly escape with the win after being up 4-0 before the Riveters turned it on and scored 3 unanswered to get with one. Makinen will be back in goal for the Riveters and Leveille will be in the net again for the Whitecaps. These two teams are pretty evenly matched heading into this game. They're within one point of each other in the standings as well, for the Riveters they're looking to get back in the win column before heading to face the Toronto Six who gave the Riveters everything, they had during the team's home opener weekend. For Minnesota, they would like to start a winning streak and keep the momentum rolling as they will be heading to Connecticut to face off with the Whales next weekend. With points at a premium right now for teams 3 - 7 in the standings. Buffalo and Connecticut are the only teams to have played 3 or fewer games this season.
"There were many positives including creating scoring chances, our PP producing, being defensively more responsible and reading situations." - Venla Head Coach Riveters
Both teams got off to a strong start in this one, going back and forth with each other in a game of chess. Neither side conceded a goal or penalty in the period. The action was fast-paced and both teams had some quality chances turned aside by their netminders. This was 100% one of the top periods for both sides this season. The end of the period saw the shots at 9-7 for the Whitecaps and both teams keeping the sheets clear.
The second period was again tightly played but this time both teams found the back of the net. Jonna Albers opened the scoring with a bad-angle shot on the goal that found a small crack to enter. It's one that Makinen will want back for sure, the goal was assisted by Sydney Brodt at 2:41 into the period. The Riveters would answer back late in the period on the power play when Minttu Tuominen would net her 3rd wrister of the year from the point past Leveille. She went top blocker side to pop the bottle, she now has 3 goals in the past 2 games all in the same spot. The goal was assisted by Anna Kilponen who seems to have found great chemistry with her defensive partner and Madison Packer picks up the secondary assist. The goal was scored at 18:57 into the 2nd period to tie the game at 1-1. All 3 penalties in the period were against the Whitecaps. (3:40 Amanda Boulier for Delay of Game, 17:33 Olivia Knowles for Interference, and 18:57 Maddie Rowe for Delay of Game). At the end of two, the score is tied up at 1-1, Makinen has saved 18 of 19 shots and Leveille has saved 18 of 19 shots on goal.
Another good period of hockey by both sides and just further proof of how evenly matched the two sides are at this point in the season. The third period should be a good one, if things continue, we may see overtime in this one.
The third period is underway and both teams come out of the gate strong, at 1:19 into the 3rd period Sarah Bujold is called for cross-checking, the usually disciplined player got caught on this one, but her team killed off the penalty with relative ease. The period would continue with neither side looking to give an inch to their opponent. However, at 5:58 of the period, Sydney Brodt somehow found herself wide open in the slot and took the pass from teammate Liz Schepers right on the tape, and rifled a laser into the back of the net breaking the tie and giving Minnesota a 2-1 lead early in the 3rd. The two teams would battle hard over the next few minutes trading opportunities and seeing the netminders standing tall. However, at the 9:56 mark, both teams would send one to the box for offsetting penalties. Kennedy Gasner of the Riveters for Slashing and Liz Schepers for cross-checking. The two sides skated 4-on-4 for about a minute when the Whitecaps would be called for body checking sending team captain Sydney Brodt to the box. The Riveters now would have a 4-on-3 power play but it lasted just 43 seconds when Regan Rust took an interference penalty at the 11:42 mark making it 3-on-3 for a few seconds then a 4-on-3 power play for the Whitecaps. The Riveters team captain Madison Packer was called for elbowing at 13:07 giving the Whitecaps a short 5-on-3 power play. The Riveters would survive killing the entire power play, off and staying alive in the game. With the score 2 - 1 Whitecaps, the home team tried to dictate the pace of the period. The Riveters had a couple of chances before the referee called Regan Rust for holding at 18:07 of the 3rd period. That penalty would be costly as Natalie Snodgrass would take a pass from Sydney Brodt and send a laser beam into the back of the goal from just outside the right side of the crease. The pass through the front of the goal wasn't blocked and before Makinen could slide over it was in the net giving the Whitecaps a 3 - 1 lead on the power play goal. The Whitecaps would add one more when the Riveters pulled their goalie in an effort to get back into the game. Liz Schepers took a pass from Sydney Brodt and Jonna Curtis and buried the empty netter from the slot making it 4 - 1 with 28.1 seconds remaining in the game.
The Riveters drop both games in Minnesota and fall to 2-5-0 6pts and Minnesota jumps over the Riveters and La Force with a record of 2-2-2 8pts. The Riveters head to 2nd place Toronto on a two-game skid while Toronto is coming off a bye and having split their series with Boston and nearly taking both from the 1st place Pride. Toronto handed the Pride their worst loss of the season beating them 7-3 on Nov 27th before both teams entered the bye week. While Minnesota heads to Connecticut to face a Whales team that went toe-to-toe with LaForce in the Quebec Providence winning their second game 3-2 and dropping the first one 4-3 in a shootout.