The Connecticut Whale split their opening weekend, as they beat the Buffalo Beauts Saturday in a shootout before falling on Sunday to the Metropolitan Riveters. However, there are some key takeaways from opening weekend. Kayla Friesen and Amanda Conway both found the back of the net for their first career goals and Abbie Ives had a solid opening weekend, as she got the start in both games for the Whale.
On opening night, Abby Ives got the surprise nod for the Whale and didn’t disappoint, as she made 24 saves on 25 shots. She also stopped two out of three in the shootout, thus picking up her first career win for the Whale. Ives played on Sunday as well, as Brooke Wolejko briefly left against the Riveters, but would return to the ice less than five minutes later.
Ives stopped all four shots she saw while Brooke Wolejko skated off for an equipment repair. With the Whale playing back-to-back games on both Wednesday and Thursday, I expect both goaltenders to get one more start, however, I wouldn’t be shocked if Abby Ives gets the nod from coach Orr for Saturday’s tiles against Toronto.
Kayla Friesen/Amanda Conway
There’s no question there’s been a lot of hype about the second overall pick in Kayla Friesen, and she showed why in Saturday’s game, picking up the first goal of the season for the Whale. It wasn’t only her scoring that would make an impact in the opening game, as she won 17 of 24 face-offs she took for Connecticut that night against the Beauts.
Amanda Conway would also pick up her first goal with the Whale, as she opened the scoring against the Riveters on Sunday. Conway was another draft pick of the Whale and is expected to be a big part of that new and improved forward core for Connecticut this season.
Despite the loss on Sunday to the Riveters, you have to give the Whale credit for coming back after giving up two quick goals within the first six minutes of the first period. After the first twenty minutes in Lake Placid, the Whale and Riveters were tied up at two. Once again, the Whale responded in the middle frame after Rebbeca Russo gave the Riveters the lead less than five minutes into the opening frame.
That was before Kaycie Anderson would tie the game once again for the Whale. It comes as no surprise that the first ten minutes are the most important for Connecticut, seeing that all five goals they’ve allowed have been scored in that time frame. The Whale will be back in the waters on Wednesday evening, as they face-off against the Boston Pride. Puck drop is at 5:30pmET and can be streamed online at Twitch.tv/NWHL.