In a complete reversal of Saturday’s game, the Sunday afternoon contest between the New York Riveters and the Boston Pride was a goalie battle that was scoreless through nearly 50 minutes.
With Nana Fujimoto and Shenae Lundberg both out with injury, the starting role fell to Jenny Scrivens, who had not started a game since 2009. That game was also at Bright Hockey Center, a playoff matchup between her alma mater Cornell and Harvard. Tonight’s game was the longest any NWHL game has gone without a goal. Jillian Dempsey’s second chance goal halfway through the third period opened the flood gates, leading to three more Pride goals in the closing minutes.
Dempsey scored a hat trick on the weekend, with the help of her line mates Kelly Cooke and Rachel Llanes. Cooke and Llanes each had two assists in Saturday’s game and Llanes scored what ended up being the game-winning goal that night.
After the game, Coach Bobby Jay praised their efforts. "They’ve been our best line all weekend," he said. "I couldn’t be happier for them because they do a lot of our dirty work and to get rewarded with those goals is why we started them both nights. They deserve that opportunity."
He also spoke very highly of Brittany Ott, who went 58 minutes without giving up a goal and nearly had the NWHL’s first ever shutout. In the past weeks, she has had several tough outings in which she gave up early and easy goals.
"Her and Lauren [Slebodnick] haven’t played as good as I knew they could," he said. "I give her a lot of credit mentally for fighting through that and coming up with a big performance today." She saved 21 of 22 shots on goal, the lone goal coming from Meghan Fardelmann, her second of the season.
Fardelmann joined Madison Packer and Brooke Ammerman on the short list of Riveters who have multiple goals on the season. Their goal-scoring struggles, combined with Ott’s outstanding goalkeeping performance, made it a difficult night in Boston for the Riveters, at least from a scoring perspective.
Scrivens was, in short, amazing, but even that doesn’t really do it justice.
I mean, c’mon.
Jenny Scrivens comes up big again with a pad save. pic.twitter.com/aqZ5EuY1BZ— NWHL Gifs (@nwhlgifs) December 6, 2015
She looked calm and level-headed in net, which she credited to the fact that she entered last weekend’s game against the Beauts late in the third period.
"I think the six minutes I got last week really helped, because I wasn’t as nervous as I expected I would be," she explained. "I was able to settle right into my game."
Even though the Pride piled on the goals late in the game, two of them were empty netters. "I saw it as a one goal game, not a 4-1 game," Scrivens said.
With the statuses of Lundberg and Fujimoto still unknown, Scrivens’ performance tonight gave the Riveters some peace of mind in the goalkeeping department.
For the Pride, this weekend was significant for their growth as a team. Even though the Pride roster is clearly stacked with talented players, this weekend they looked like a cohesive unit. After losing three straight, they were able to sort out the problems that plagued them throughout those games. Their defense looked strong in Sunday’s game, in which they pounced on every stray puck and fought hard along the boards. While Saturday was not a defensive or goalkeeping masterpiece by any means, for either team, Ott’s ability to stand strong and nearly secure the shutout showed her leadership and proved to her teammates and fans that she can be trusted as the starting goalie.
The offense has come out of its short slump, showing resilience in overcoming New York's strategy of clogging the middle of the ice. Dempsey’s line was brilliant, and Amanda Pelkey has rather quietly scored a goal in four straight games. As expected, Hilary Knight leads the league in points, goals, and assists (14-7-7). They now have a record of 5-3, and after traveling to Minnesota to face the Whitecaps in a back-to-back next weekend, will return home to play the Beauts on December 20th.