NWHL: Mariya Sorokina acquired by Riveters ahead of weekend game against Whale

Russian goalie headed to New Jersey in exchange for ‘future considerations’

The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) announced Russian goalie Mariya Sorokina will head the Metropolitan Riveters ahead of their fourth and final game against the Connecticut Whale on Sunday.

The trade comes as her housing situation in Connecticut fell through, according to sources. For a time, the goalie who signed with the Whale on September 10 was living with former player and current Whale goalie coach Laura Brennan.

Whale head coach Ryan Equale has had a difficult time integrating Sorokina, given Finnish goalie Merri Räisänen’s success. At Whale practice Friday, Equale noted finding minutes for the 23-year-old was “still in the works”. He continued,

“We’re trying to figure out the best place for Mariya to get her quality minutes and have a positive experience in the league. She’s not at practice, she unfortunately doesn’t have the ability to get here. So, it makes it tough right now to even comment on what the future holds for her. Right now it’s going to be Sam [Walther] and Meeri in the lineup for Sunday and we’ll go from there.”

On Tuesday, the league announced the Russian goalie was being traded “for future considerations”. After inquiring with the league, the Riveters will maintain four goalie on their roster. In 2017, the league expanded rosters to 25 players, getting rid of what were formally known as as “practice players”.

Sorokina officially joined the Whale three games into the season. In that time, Räisänen had already proven to be an important asset for the Whale. In 10 games, Räisänen has led Connecticut to a 2-4-2 record. She is stopping pucks at a .917% clip, good for third in the league behind Buffalo netminders Nicole Hensley (.941% and a 2-1-0 record) and Shannon Szabados (.931% and a 3-3-0 record).

Before signing with the Whale, Sorikina was drafted by the Markham Thunder of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL). She played four seasons in the Russian Women’s Hockey League for the Dynamo, St Petersburg & Adigael Ufa. She helped Adigael to its first title last season. She also traveled with Team Russia to play NWHL teams in the 2017-18 preseason.

“Thank you to the Riveters, Coach Randy, Hayley Moore with the NWHL, and everyone who took part in my trade,” Sorokina said in the league press release.

Sources tell me, had the relocation not worked, Sorokina would have returned to Russia. It will be interesting to see how coach Randy Velischek manages starts, with now four goalies on his roster. Regardless, Mariya seems eager to seize the opportunity.

In the league release, she commented, “I was patient and put my trust in these people, and as a result I now have a chance with a great team, and I have been welcomed into a wonderful house with a wonderful family! I am really happy and am waiting for my first practice and the first game in a Riveters jersey! To the Riveters and our fans: I will try to justify your trust and each time put my heart on the ice in order to bring as many victories as possible.”

I’ve also learned the Riveters have released rookie forward Fiona McKenna. The split is said to be amicable and a consequence of her current work schedule. McKenna dress for four of the 10 Riveters games in the 2018 portion of the current season.

More to follow as this story unfold. Be sure to subscribe to the blog or follow me on Twitter @elindsay08

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