YERRRRR Rivs Sink the Whale of Connecticut
Coming into the match the Riveters need every win they can get at this point in the season if they want any chance at making the playoffs. They sit in 5th place and need to close out strong while getting some help along the way. The Whale sits in what is believed to be the final playoff spot for this season's playoffs. The Riveters have several players on hot streaks. Kelly Babstock has 16 points in the last 16 games she also is (.611) on faceoffs leading the Rivs, and Fanni Garat-Gasparics registered an assist in the team's final game before the all-star break where she netted 4 goals for Team World. Since that game, she has been extremely upbeat and ready to go. Rivs Sarah Bujold (70) is second in the league in shots on goal. There was also a new signing in the lineup as the Rivs signed forward Hayley Lunny who has been signed to a PTO agreement. The 23-year-old from Bedford, NY was most recently a member of the PWHPA after graduating from Providence College last spring. She played five seasons with the Friars where she set a program record for all-time games played with 164 and led the 2021-22 team in scoring with 21 points in 33 games. If that wasn't enough it was also Rosie the Riveters night in East Rutherford, the team held a contest with fans awarding the best-dressed Rosie. The players also wore the iconic bandana along with the coaching staff.
The first period saw some great action from both teams, and neither was able to knot a goal. The period was filled with fast-paced action back-and-forth and both netminders stood tall for their teams. The Whale had 2 players sent to the sin bin for their chippy play. Lenka Serdar was the first to go for hooking at the 5:365 mark and Hannah Bates went for cross-checking at the 13:37 mark. Unfortunately, the anemic Rivs power play continued its woes. Both goalies ended the first period with 6 saves a piece in the neutral ice battle for possession.
***1st-period intermission report with Sarah Bujold ***
The second period saw the Riveters start strong, they went on the power play at the 4:49 mark of the second period and the Hungarian Wonder Fanni Garat-Gasparics found the back of the net off a bouncing puck for the Power Play goal and early 1 - 0 lead. The goal was assisted by none other than Kelly Babstock who now sees her point streak continue to 17 points in 17 games. The goal was Fanni's 4th of the season, and it provided all the momentum for the Rivs. The Rivs would see two of their players go to the sin bin in the 2nd. At the 11:19 mark of the period Ebba Berglund went for Interference and then Sarah Bujold went at the 19:04 mark for holding. Connecticut wouldn't capitalize on the power play opportunities. Katie Burt ended the 2nd period with 14 saves in the game and Raisanen saved 13 out of 14 shots.
***2nd-period intermission report with Kelly Babstock ***
The third period was one to remember, both teams came out of the gates strong. The Whale would get an early 2-man advantage on the powerplay when the refs called Madison Packer for roughing at the 00:27 mark of the 3rd period. The Whale would score 11 seconds later with a goal from Taylor Girard assisted by Melissa Samoskevich and Kennedy Marchment. Taylor beat Burt blocker side after one of her own teammates accidentally knocked into her. The game was tied up at 1-1 and both teams thought they had won the game in regulation. The Riveters with just under 5 minutes to play put the puck in the back of the net, but the referees waived it off, saying the puck made contact with Raisanen; therefore, that was enough to stop play for the penalty call against the Whale. The Whale thought they won the game when time expired, but the puck didn't go in until a good 2 or 3 seconds after the horn sounded.
Overtime was dramatic and saw back-and-forth action for the entire 5 minutes including the last 44 seconds which saw the Whale with a 4-on-3 power play after a weak interference call by the referees on Amanda Pelkey just 30 seconds after Fanni Gasparics was tripped up in on goal the other way that went uncalled and lead to a 3 on 1 break for the Whale, but Burt answered the call. With neither team scoring, we went to a shootout!!!
The shootout went just how the Rivs wanted it to go, Justine Reyes went in, and Burt denied all access to the net. Fanni Garat-Gasparics was up, and she hit the post. Round 2 Alyssa Wohlfeiler skated down the ice and Burt answered the call again with a flash access denied save. Kelly Babstock would step up for the Rivs and she skated in fast and fired a laser glove side that just missed. Round 3 Kennedy Marchment the Whale's hottest player right now went in with the dangle, but Burt stacked the pads and said not in my house. No No No! The next to step up for the Rivs was "The Sniper" Minttu Tuominen and boy did she send the crowd into a frenzy. She skated down fast and let off a powerful wrister beating Raisanen blocker high for the win and the signature "Choo Choo" Celly from the Finnish defenseman.
Photo Credit: Manny Fernandes Insta: @mdphotoankink (Minttu "Choo Choo" Celly photo)
Photo Credit: Manny Fernandes Insta: @mdphotoankink and
J.J. Pavlick Insta: @bad_dawg_sports Twitter: @jj_pavlick