With the All-Stars back from their trip to Pittsburgh, all eyes are now on the fast approaching playoffs. With the final stretch now underway, the battle to secure home ice and avoid meeting Boston until the final is really starting to heat up.
Buffalo Beauts 1 – 3 Boston Pride
Connecticut Whale 5 – 6 (OT) New York Riveters
— New York Riveters (@NYRiveters) February 20, 2017
3rd Star – Kelli Stack (Connecticut Whale, 2G)
There was a flurry of goals for Connecticut to start their game, the third of which Stack netted on the third shot for the team. She then added another in the second period to put the Whale up 5-1. The remainder of the game, during which the Whale conceded 5 unanswered goals to blow what should have been an insurmountable lead can hardly be blamed on her, as she ended the game with a +2 rating.
2nd Star – Hillary Knight (Boston Pride, 1G 1A)
With such a high scoring game between the Whale and the Rivs, the Pride’s victory could easily be overlooked. There is almost an inevitability of the Pride beating the other three teams- their dominance is becoming the norm. Hillary Knight was a key part of the Pride’s success last season, and has slotted back into the line-up midway through this season to make sure they continue to go unbeaten this year with a goal and an assist.
1st Star – Janine Weber (New York Riveters, 2G 2A)
Putting herself forward for MVP nominations, Janine Weber, along with the entire Rivs team, put on a never say die attitude to complete the most impressive comeback ever in NWHL history. She netted a shorthanded goal at the end of the first to keep the Rivs in touch- just. After going 5-1 down, she then scored a second and assisted on two others, including the game winner. Being only 4 points behind Carpenter, it’s not impossible for her to claim the scoring title.
— Kaleigh Fratkin (@fratkin13) February 20, 2017
Amanda Leveille did her best to give the Beauts a chance to pick up some points, making 40 saves with a 0.930% save percentage.
Zoe Hickel scored 2 goals on her first two shots for the Whale after having been traded from Boston.
Amanda Kessel showed us why she was an All-Star captain as she notched up 4 assists.
Meanwhile, Courtney Burke will still be celebrating her five-hole snipe in overtime to complete the great escape for New York.
The Rivs’ power play was on fire last night as they scored 3 goals from 8 chances, giving them an impressive conversion rate of 37.5%.
Not So Honourable Mentions:
Despite having two goals early on, Hickel then went on to take two penalties, which gave New York a lifeline back into the game.
Nicole Stock continued to struggle in net with just a 0.824% save percentage. Her opposite number, Katie Fitzgerald didn’t fare much better with 0.857%, and was pulled before coming back on to replace Sarah Bryant who ended the night with a miserable 2 SOG and 2 goals against.
Following their great comeback, New York are now only two points away from clinching second place and securing home ice for the playoffs. They’ve now won 3 in a row and are starting to look like serious title contenders. Connecticut are going to have to break a 7 game losing streak and start getting some results to catch Buffalo for 3rd place in the standings. They currently sit two points behind the Beauts and have played 1 game extra. This matchup will be key, as whoever claims 3rd will avoid meeting the seemingly invincible Boston Pride in the semi-finals of the playoffs.