NEWARK, N.J., January 7 – The Metropolitan Riveters didn’t let the upcoming two-game NWHL Challenge series with the U.S. women’s Olympic hockey team cloud their preparations Sunday for the Connecticut Whale.
Six Riveter players were named to the NWHL team that will face the Olympic team in a two-game series in Tampa next Saturday and Monday in preparation for the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea.
The Riveters took care of business with four goals in the third period and 23 saves from undefeated goalie Katie Fitzgerald in a 6-1 victory over the Connecticut Whale in National Women’s Hockey League action Sunday. The Whale (2-6) have lost four consecutive games.
Tatiana Rafter had two goals while four other Riveters players – Alexa Grushow, Erika Lawler, Madison Packer and Kelly Nash each had two assists.
Goalie Katie Fitzgerald made 28 saves in net to win her eighth game of the season for the Riveters (8-0).
For Connecticut, Jamie Goldsmith had a power play goal off a scramble in front of the net with assists from Megan Huertas and Shannon Doyle just 4:08 in the second period to tie game at 1-1.
Metropolitan led 2-1 after two periods thanks to Rafter’s first goal of the day with 3:21 left in the period. Rafter tipped a shot from the Riveters’ Madison Packer and into the net.
The Riveters exploded for four unanswered goals in the third period to pull away. Whale goalie Sydney Rossman made some outstanding saves in the first period and kept her team in the game. She finished with 32 saves before being lifted in the third period.
It was the sixth straight win for Metropolitan over Connecticut.
The Whale return to action on Sunday when they travel to Pittsburgh to face Buffalo in a neutral ice contest beginning at 2 p.m. Connecticut returns home on Saturday, January 20, when they host Buffalo at 1 p.m.
NOTES – The Whale hosted the South Korean national team on Saturday, Dec. 30 at Yale’s Ingalls Rink and came away with a 4-1 victory in an exhibition game.
Stephanie Mock, Sam Faber, Kelly Babstock and Grace Kleinbach scored for Connecticut. Keira Goin got the start in net for Connecticut and earned the win while Laura Brennan played in the third period.
Metropolitan 6, Connecticut 1
Connecticut (2-6) 0 1 0 — 1
Metropolitan (8-0) 1 1 4 — 6
Metropolitan 1, Ashley Johnson (Miye D’Oench, Alexa Grushow), 9:22; Penalties: Juana Baribeau (CT), interference, 5:43; Emily Fluke (CT) high sticking, 13:07; Cydney Roesler (CT) hooking, 17:44; Alexa Grushchow (M) tripping, 19:08
Connecticut 1, Jamie Goldsmith (Megan Huertas, Shannon Doyle), 4:08 (pp); Metropolitan 2, Tatiana Rafter (Madison Packer, Kelly Nash), 17:21; Penalties: Courtney Burke (M), interference, 2:23
Metropolitan 3, Courtney Burke (D’Oench, Jenny Ryan), 2:36 (pp); Metropolitan 4, Bray Ketchum (Kelsey Koelzer, Erika Lawler), 6:48; Metropolitan 5, Rebecca Russo (Lawler), 12:09; Metropolitan 6, Rafter (Packer, Nash), 17:55; Penalties: Kelly Babstock (CT) body checking, 1:50; Baribeau (CT), 4:14; Michelle Picard (M), hooking, 7:52; Kelsey Koelzer (M) interference, 19:35
Shots: Connecticut 29 (5-13-11); Metropolitan 39 (16-10-13)
Goalies: Connecticut – Sydney Rossman (L, 2-6) 37 shots, 32 saves; Keira Goin 2 shots, 1 save; Metropolitan – Katie Fitzgerald (W, 8-0) 29 shots, 28 saves
National Women’s Hockey League standings
As of January 7
Buffalo 3, Boston 2
Metropolitan 6, Connecticut 1
Saturday, January 13
Team NWHL vs. U.S. national team, 6:15 p.m., at Tampa FL
Sunday, January 14
Buffalo vs. Connecticut, 2 p.m. at Pittsburgh
Monday, January 15
Team NWHL vs. U.S. national team, 2:15 p.m., at Tampa, FL