Riveters honor Rosie by beating Whale at American Dream

On 'Rosie the Riveter' night, the Metropolitan Riveters beat the Connecticut Whale 2-1 in overtime to earn their sixth win of the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) season.

Before the game, a ceremonial puck drop took place where the two captains, Madison Packer for the Riveters and Shannon Turner for the Whale, faced off at center ice and shook hands with an esteemed guest. This was a tight game through three periods but the Riveters goaltender on the night was Katie Burt who spent the last two years with the reigning champion Boston Pride. Burt also came into this game on a high after earning her second win against Buffalo on Jan. 22.

The first period was a tight checking one where neither team found a way to breakthrough against the opposing goalie, including Meeri Raisinen who was in net for Connecticut. The scoring picked up at 6:45 of the second period, when the Riveter's leader in points-scored, Kelly Babstock set Fanni Gasparics up whose wrist shot took a deflection and hit the twine.

However, the Connecticut Whale, who had faced Metropolitan twice already this season were far from intimidated. In fact, the Riveters may have taken the lead early in the second period, but each team had eight shots-on-goal.

With about six minutes left in the game, it was the home team's turn to have a man-advantage. On a five-on-three power play, the Riveters nearly scored the go-ahead goal when defenseman Mintu Tuominen hurled a shot on net that gave the goalie trouble. A scrum around the loose puck ensued and it appeared that the puck had been poked into the net, but the referee never signaled for a goal. Upon further review the potential goal was waived off and the game continued as hotly contested as ever.

Settling the Score

After over 60 shots on goal, this hockey match headed to a five-minute overtime period, which was brimming with run-and-gun hockey and great saves. Both teams were penalized often, but the Riveters became less disciplined as the game wore on. At 4:16 gone by in Overtime, first line forward, Amanda Pelkey took a penalty for interference. Despite going down a woman in an already dire quagmire, Riveters goalie, Katie Burt rose to the occasion and did not let the puck pass on her watch.

As time wound down, the Whale would have a golden opportunity to finish the game off. The visitors were passing the puck around their power play, looking for a shooting lane when the puck came to Whale forward, Kennedy Marchment who turned in front of goal and tried to shoot high. Burt denied Marchment and the overtime ended, so now it went to a shootout.

Both teams would have at least three chances before having a chance to end the shootout and the Whale's Justine Reyes skated over to center ice to take the first shot but was stopped. Stepping up for the Riveters was Gasparics, but her attempt to shoot through Raisinen's five-hole was denied. The Whale's next shot-taker ripped a wrist shot off the post and the shootout remained scoreless.

Head coach Venla Hovi responded by sending out Kelly Babstock. She skated in from a slight angle and tried to pick a corner, but it was either missed high or grazed off the goalie's shoulder. When Connecticut missed their third shot, the spotlight turned its beams onto Riveter's defenseman Minttu Tuominen.

With the game on her stick, the Riveters defenseman scored on a snapshot that went over Raisinen's shoulder and into the net. The Riveters prevailed 2-1 on a night where they honored World War II veterans and the mascot on their uniforms.

Reflecting in the Postgame

These teams had split their previous two meetings and Coach Hovi described what her team did to come out victorious.

The team could have given up on the season, but we reset. We played the right way the whole game. You're never going to play [a perfect game] so when you play the right way, the pucks just end up bouncing your way. Obviously, Katie had a great game in net, and we found the goals we needed to win. Great defensive effort today. - Riveters head coach, Venla Hovi

Even though the Riveters ended up winning the game, their opponents put up a real fight. They tied the game just seconds into the third period on Taylor Girard's goal and the forward with the Canadian accent discussed how her team remained focused on competing in this game.

Our team wanted to focus on just being positive with one another, to help build confidence going in the third. The first two periods weren’t our best so we knew coming into the third we needed that to be our best to get back in the game and I think we really brought it. -Taylor Girard

The woman of the hour is Minttu Tuominen, the Riveter defenseman who scored the game-winner and she reflected on what this win means for a team that sits second-to-last in the PHF standings.

It was huge. We've been really close in so many games but ended up losing. Its a good show of character from our team to get a win, in this close game. 

-Minttu Tuominen

This win came on the night where the Riveters honored their mascot, Rosie the Riveter from the advertisement that highlights the contributions American women made as part of the United States' involvement in World War II. Tuominen discussed this and how taking part in a very entertaining hockey game at the American Dream Mall helps promote women's ice hockey.

We love it. After every game here when we do autographs, somebody tells us 'It was their first hockey game' and they heard the noise coming from [the rink] and started walking this way. This is a really good opportunity for us to spread the word of women's hockey.

Anthony Paradiso
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