The New York Riveters hit the ice at their new home Barnabas Health Hockey House on Sunday night for their first pre-season game against Team Russia. After a strong and physical game the Riveters came out on top 2-1.
Sojung Shin, the Riveters’ newest goalie addition from South Korea, quickly adjusted in net, stopping 19 of the 20 shots she faced.
Team Russia was quick and physical, but with physicality from defenders like Kaleigh Fratkin and Milica McMillen and speed in front from Tatiana Rafter and Taylor Holze, the Riveters were able to counteract their strengths.
“Definitely, I am a physical player,” Fratkin noted after the game, “it actually gets you into the game a little more. When someone threw a body on me in my first couple shifts, I was like ‘Oh wow, I’m actually playing hockey,’ you’re not playing pond hockey out there.”
Fratkin, McMillen, and Michelle Picard were standout defensemen on the ice. They were firm on the blue line, physical and in control in all aspects. This, combined with Shin’s standout performance, made scoring tough for Team Russia.
The first goal in the game came early in the first period from rookie Miye D’Oench, assisted by Rebecca Russo. It was a quick and meaningful goal that got the Riveters ahead, not only on the scoreboard, but helped shake the nerves away.
These nerves were no match for Russo, who was all grins after her first NWHL assist, “I think there are always first game jitters. I’m always nervous before any game but once I step foot on the ice for warm ups or the first drop of that puck— the nerves go away.”
Team Russia got their lone goal from former Connecticut Whale forward, Smolentseva Ekaterina.
“The girls did a great job,” Riveters GM and head coach Chad Wiseman said after the game, “We have a great group right now with a lot of talent, a lot of puck-moving defensemen, a lot of speed up front, but they’ve got to come together as a single unit.”