NEWCOMERS SHINE FOR BOTH SIDES IN RIVS' VICTORY
By Dan Rice
It wasn’t your typical Buffalo Beauts-Metropolitan Riveters game because there wasn’t much on the line as far as the standings go, but the two rivals still put on a good show for a full crowd at ProSkate Arena. At the end of the back and forth matchup, the Riveters came out on top as 5-2 winners.
“I really liked our first period and third period because I thought we were playing playoff hockey,” said Riveters coach Ivo Mocek. Goaltender Sam Walther was particularly sharp in those periods, as she made a triumphant return to the ice after missing time with a lower-body injury.
“I felt good. Finally! It’s been a long journey back,” said Walther with a smile after notching her eighth win of the season behind 25 saves. “I finally had a couple of practices with no pain and I felt great today.”
It was all Riveters in the first with the home team jumping out to a quick two-goal lead, courtesy of tallies from Brooke Baker and Jayne Lewis. The goals came about four minutes apart and were a part of the first-period onslaught of shots that the Rivs threw towards Beauts netminder Lea-Kristine Demers. Baker’s goal was her third of the season and Lewis, who nearly scored on her first shift as an NWHL player at the onset of the game, picked up her first pro goal just past the midway point of the period.
“I think coming off my season (at Sacred Heart) helps, but I felt good out there,” Lewis said after her impressive debut. “Kendall [Cornine] dropped the puck back to me and I think one of Buffalo’s D gave me a nice screen on the goalie,” she added. "So I put it top left and luckily she didn’t stop it.”
In the second period, the Beauts battled back and were able to tie the game with two quick goals of their own. Merrimack all-time leading scorer Mikyla Grant-Mentis scored a beautiful backhand goal to spark Buffalo's offense. Shortly thereafter, Cassidy McPherson tied the game with her fifth of the season, setting the stage for a dramatic third period.
After the Riveters killed off the fourth of four power plays against them, captain Madison Packer potted the eventual game-winner when she pounced on a loose puck near the crease. Five minutes later, Leila Kilduff continued her recent hot streak and fired home her fourth goal in five games to put the game out of reach before Kendall Cornine finished the scoring with an empty-netter, set up by Lewis.
The Riveters and Beauts will wrap up their regular seasons tomorrow at ProSkate at 4:30 p.m. ET. Tickets for that game are available at riveters.nwhl.zone/tickets. With the 2020 Isobel Cup Playoffs just around the corner, it will be a crucial final test for both teams.
Dan's 3 Stars of the Game
1) Jayne Lewis (Rivs): goal (1), assist (1)
2) Kendall Cornine (Rivs): goal (13), assist (11)
3) Madison Packer (Rivs): GWG (13)
Photo Credit: Ashley Intile