In their first home game in over a month the Metropolitan Riveters shutout the Connecticut Whale 4–0 as they improved to 5-0-0 this season. Last time these two teams met was the only time the Rivs trailed in a game this season and this time goalie Katie Fitzgerald didn’t let that happen as she lived up to her nickname “Brick Wall Fitzy” and turned aside all 26 shots she saw off of Whale sticks.
The Riveters offense was bolstered by the return of Madison Packer (offseason hip surgery) to the lineup for the first time this season, and it was like she never left as she chipped in two assists in the win. The top line continued to roll along also, as the Rivs dynamic duo Alexa Gruschow (goal, assist) and Miye D’Oench (goal) continued their assault on the NWHL scoring race.
Fitzgerald made a save on Juana Baribeau’s breakaway 2:30 into the game and 45 seconds later Gruschow gave the Riveters a lead they would never relinquish when she tipped a shot-pass from Courtney Burke past Connecticut’s Sydney Rossman.
Almost 14 minutes went by before Kelly Nash netted her first NWHL goal (in her first game), converting a pass from Packer to make it 2-0 Rivs before the end of the opening period.
Fitzgerald made another ten-bell save on a breakaway in the second period, this time on Kelly Babstock at the eight-minute mark and in the late stages of the middle stanza D’Oench and Gruschow connected to extend the lead to 3-0 for the league-leaders in points.
Connecticut was thwarted by Fitzgerald again early in the third period when she denied Stephanie Mock at the side of the net on an expiring Whale power play. Later, on their own power play the Riveters cashed in when Packer set up her teammate for all three seasons with the team, Bray Ketchum to make it 4-0.
Babstock led all skaters with four shots on goal, and every player on the Riveters recorded a shot on goal except Kelsey Koelzer – who hit actually hit the goal post with a shot. Rossman finished with 21 saves for Connecticut. Captain Ashley Johnston did not play for the Riveters and Hanna Beattie made her NWHL debut for the Whale.
The Riveters (5-0-0) will be home again as the Buffalo Beauts (2-3-0) come to town and the Whale (2-3-0) will be home against the Boston Pride (1-3-1).