It was another good start for the Riveters on Sunday against the Boston Pride. Bray Ketchum scored the first goal of the game. However, New York’s 1-0 lead would not last, as Boston scored four unanswered goals to win their fourth straight game.
Shots against and stops continue to be a problem for New York. The early coordination seen in the preseason and the first game against Boston have yet to resurface. The difference between the first three games (including the Riveters’ two preseason games) and the last two games is the presence of Amanda Kessel.
Kessel was scratched from the roster again with a lower-body injury. Team USA also announced that Kessel would not join the national team during this week’s camp in preparation for the Four Nations Cup in Finland. It is clear that Amanda Kessel was brought in to be an important part of the Riveters offense. However, she cannot be asked to carry the entire offense.
When a team has a talented star there are always adjustments made to capitalize on their talent. Offensive plays are drawn-up and pairings are made to best utilize elite players. Kessel is that star for New York. The challenge for Chad Wiseman now will be to develop (or execute) his “plan B.” The energy, coordination and unison seen in the preseason games, as well as the first game of the season, has not been a consistent part of the Riveters game without Amanda in the lineup.
If not Kessel, then who?
Janine Weber was also missing from the home opener against the Whale. In the first game, Weber’s aggressive play along the boards earned her the secondary assist on the first Riveters goal of the season. On Sunday, her ability to draw the defense and the goalie out of position gave Weber her first primary assist of the season when she set up Ketchum’s goal. Last season, we saw glimpses of the Weber of Clarkson Cup fame, and early indications are that she is ready to be a key contributor to New York’s success.