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Pucked up! Riveters drop home opener

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They wanted to make an impression on their new fans — but not like this!

The New York Riveters — Brooklyn’s first female hockey team — lost 7–1 to the Boston Pride during its home opener at Aviator Sports and Events Center in Marine Park on Oct. 18. More than 1,200 fans turned out to Aviator’s arena — and waited through an hour-long delay because the Pride was late — to watch the borough’s newest team struggle. And players appreciated the unanticipated show of support, one Riveter said.

“Going into the season, I wasn’t expecting [the fan turnout] at all,” New York defender Gabie Figueroa said. “I am so thankful we have all the fans we do.”

The Pride got off the bus late, but wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. Forward Zoe Hickel sent a backhand shot past Riveter goalie Nana Fujimoto in the first minute of play. Boston struck again at 17:34 in the first period, when Brianna Decker split the Riveters defense and roofed a shot to bring the score to 2–0.

Neither team would score again until well into the second period, when Decker dealt the Riveters another blow. But New York answered back, when Figueroa put one in the net to make it 3–1 with less than three minutes left in the period.

Scoring in front of the home fans, which included her childhood club team, was a dream come true, the New Jersey native said.

“I played for a lot of New Jersey youth teams,” she said. “The Colonials in particular, to see a whole team of them here is really cool. I was in their shoes 10 years ago, and I dreamed to be playing where I am today.”

The Pride opened the third period with three goals in six minutes, spending the majority of the time in New York’s zone, but fans stayed to cheer, despite a lopsided score that got worse as the game went on.

The new squad failed at the fundamentals, its coach said.

“Getting beat to loose pucks — I mean that just can’t happen in our own zone,” said Chad Wiseman. “We’ve got to be stronger, we’ve got to put bodies into the boards, we need to have better sticks.”

But a player contends it’s just early season jitters.

“We’re a brand-new team,” forward Brooke Ammerman said. “A lot of us haven’t played together. We’ve gone into both third periods with a chance to win and that’s what you want. I think we will be a completely different team in two months.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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