Sunday afternoon the Minnesota Whitecaps and the Metropolitan Riveters met for the final time in the regular season. This time the game was held at the Barnabas Health Hockey House and there were no surprises in goal, as Minnesota played their start starter, Amanda Leveille, and the Metros stuck with stalwart Katie Fitzgerald.
Both teams came out to play and traded a few shots. Alexa Gruschow took a high sticking penalty at 3:35, which gave the Whitecaps some nice shot opportunities before the Riveters killed it. Leveille had to make a lot of saves as the Riveters peppered her with shots. Then in a 3-on-2 Jonna Curtis fired on Fitzgerald, and Katie McGovern deflected the puck past the goaltender to score at 8:24. Amy Schlagel may have had the second assist. Amanda Kessel had a flyby that Leveille denied. A few minutes later Thunstrom zoomed in and buried the puck in the back of the net at 11:04. Chelsey Brodt Rosenthal had the lone assist.
The Riveters were having difficult time even breaking out of their zone, as the Whitecaps continued dominating play. Madison Packer made a shot that left Leveille on her back, but the Whitecaps still managed to clear the puck. Then Haylea Schmid tripped Rebecca Russo, putting Metro on a power play at 15:44. Lauren Barnes nearly scored shorthanded, but Fitzgerald shut her down before her team’s advantage expired. Despite the home ice advantage, the Riveters went into first intermission trailing the Whitecaps 2-0.
Their on ice momentum did not improve with the start of second period. Amy Menke hooked Packer in the corner at 4:15, sending her to the box. However, play did not immediately resume, as the officials decided Kelsey Koelzer needed to go for hooking as well—though there was some question as to whether or not Koelzer was even on the ice at the time. In any case the refs got what they wanted, which was 4-on-4 hockey, and two minutes later both teams were back to full strength.
The Riveters got a couple of chances before Gruschow took a hooking penalty at 8:46. Fitzgerald made a couple of high saves as the Whitecaps buzzed through her zone. Just as the penalty expired but before Gruschow returned to play, Lee Stecklein made a shot through traffic that Hannah Brandt tipped into goal at 10:47. Kate Schipper had the second assist. Then Emma Stauber earned a body checking minor at 11:21 and while there ended up being a frantic mess at Minnesota’s crease, they eventually killed the penalty.
With less than five minutes in the period Curtis failed to score on Fitzgerald, then Kessel carried the puck up the right side and shot into traffic. Goal horn sounded and Riveters definitely thought they scored, but when Leveille got up the puck was under the front of her leg pad. Without replay the ref had to go with what they had seen, plus the evidence that remained, and waved off the goal as it seemed that the puck had hit the post instead. Instead it was Audra Richards who finally broke the shutout at 17:28 off a pass from Alexa Aramburu. Packer earned a body checking minor at 19:00, which carried over to third period before expiring.
Schlagel went for roughing at 2:49 of the third period. The Riveters looked like they were going to take advantage of this power play despite Thunstrom making a wraparound attempt. Kessel had a great shot, but Leveille the better glove save. Then Tanja Eisenschmid got the puck to Curtis who took off down center ice and scored shorthanded at 4:32. Minnesota killed the penalty, but when Kessel took off down the side with the puck and fed it to Packer at the crease Leveille couldn’t block the shot, resulting in a goal at 6:47.
Curtis took a shot, which Koelzer blocked, but when the puck fell out of her equipment McGovern scooped it up to score at 8:03. Stauber had the second assist. Minutes later McGovern fed the puck to Thunstrom for a goal at 11:31. Curtis also earned her third assist of the game and Kimberly Sass replaced Fitzgerald in goal. Things were fairly quiet for the rest of the game, with the Riveters killing Packer’s body checking penalty, which kicked in at 15:05. In the last minute of the game Eisenschmid hit the post, but couldn’t bump the score up any higher. The Whitecaps won 6-2 after outshooting the Riveters 29-26, and completed the season sweep while maintaining a 4-0 record.