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NWHL

Riveters have untapped potential in current practice players

Margot Scharfe takes a shift at NWHL New York Riveters at Connecticut Whale - Ingalls Rink. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kaitlin S. Cimini
Kaitlin S. Cimini/Today's Slapshot

The New York Riveters’ practice players had a big role in the team’s inaugural season. Unfortunately for New York, they had several injuries to key players throughout the season. In swooped the practice players, filling holes on the roster with aplomb.

A final record of 4-12-2 while being outscored 40 to 76 makes it abundantly clear that the Riveters are in need of some new faces. The pure scoring talent that the team needs isn’t likely to be found in the club’s practice players, but each of the four women who dressed do have something to offer to next year’s team.

Amber Moore, Defense

Amber Moore, Elena Orlando during the anthem at NWHL Connecticut Whale at New York Riveters. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kaitlin S. Cimini

Amber Moore, Elena Orlando during the anthem at NWHL Connecticut Whale at New York Riveters. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kaitlin S. Cimini

Strengths and Weaknesses

Although she didn’t get much opportunity to showcase it during the NWHL regular season, Moore possesses a heavy shot and is as tough as they come. She never saw big minutes on New York’s blue line, but the Cornell graduate showed a willingness to put her body on the line for the game, including blocking shots and defending her teammates in scrums.

Early in the season, Moore took a lot of penalties with her big frame and tendency towards physical play. However, she did reined in her emotions as the season progressed. She was uninspiring with her puck movement and was used sparingly by the coaches despite the team’s short bench.

Promotion?

There might be no greater need for the Riveters than adding a quality defender who can move the puck. Although a case could be made for Moore deserving a contract based solely on how frequently she was in the lineup, she does not have the skill set that Chad Wiseman’s Riveters desperately need on the blue line.

Taylor Holze, Forward

Strengths and Weaknesses

Quick, hard-working and a key cog in the locker room, Holze brought a lot of speed and intangibles to the Riveters before her scary upper-body injury that she suffered in a game against the Boston Pride that held her out of the lineup until the Isobel Cup Playoffs.

Holze was the smallest skater on the Riveters and she was at times bumped off the puck and overpowered along the boards. Her possession numbers were also not very encouraging in the small sample size of her regular season games.

Promotion?

When Holze was healthy she was an important player early in the season for New York. She likely can’t be counted on to bring much offense to a team that needs to find a way to score goals, but her speed was missed after her injury and it is something that the Riveters should look to bring back next season.

Holze was one of the team’s two NWHLPA representatives which spoke volumes about how important she was to the team off of the ice, too. The time that she missed with her injury kept us from seeing the best of her. The those missed games likely hurt her chances of earning a new contract, but she brings a lot of the intangibles that would be useful on the team’s third line where her speed could really make a difference.

Cherie Stewart, Forward

New York Riveters Jenny Scrivens, Cherie Stewart at NWHL media day, about to try on gear. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kaitlin S. Cimini

New York Riveters Jenny Scrivens, Cherie Stewart at NWHL media day, about to try on gear. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kaitlin S. Cimini

Strengths and Weaknesses

Stewart’s best hockey was on display in the Riveters’ exhibition games. In an exhibition match against the FDNY hockey team, Stewart showed some of the offensive skills that made her a peerless goal scorer at Manhattanville from 2001 to 2005.

With wide open ice, Stewart is a strong, clever player that knows how to get rubber on net. She didn’t score in the regular season for the Riveters, but she wasn’t the only player that failed to score on the league’s lowest scoring team.

The 34-year-old winger is not blessed with the quickest legs. That weakness stood out on a team filled with players fresh out of college hockey, many of whom had quick feet and tireless motors.

Promotion?

There’s no denying that the Riveters need offense. Stewart was never given a real chance to bring it to the team in the regular season, but her lack of speed makes her an unlikely candidate for a contract with the team in 2016-17.

Margot Scharfe, Forward

Strengths and Weaknesses

Like Stewart, Scharfe was given very little opportunity to make an impact or carve out a spot for herself on the roster, but she still managed to post exceptional possession numbers. Scharfe is an intelligent, capable defensive forward that reads the play very well.

There’s no question that Scharfe has the defensive ability as a forward to play in the NWHL, but she showed very little flair for offense with the Riveters. In limited ice time in five games, Scharfe failed to register a single shot on net.

Promotion?

A team that has a glut of two-way forwards has little need for one more, even one who might have more to bring to the team than she was able to show in her few appearances in 2015-16. The Canadian forward is absolutely underrated, but it’s unclear whether or not she has the talent to play regularly in the NWHL.

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