The NWHL is less than one season old and already the four-team league seems to be breeding some heated rivalries. Take Sunday’s action, for instance, when the New York Riveters and Connecticut Whale had a small scuffle turn into a line brawl.
The league-leading Whale were putting a 5-1 beating on the Riveters in the third period when Connecticut’s Danielle Ward drove the net on a puck that was frozen just outside the crease by New York netminder Jenny Scrivens. Ward ended up running into Scrivens and toppling overtop of the Riveters goaltender, in part because of contact from New York blueliner Amber Moore. But that didn’t stop Riveters blueliner Ashley Johnston from mixing it up.
When Ward got to her feet, Johnston gave her a shove, but Micaela Long flew in out of nowhere to put Johnston on her back. That set the two teams off as they ended up in the corner throwing punches at each other:
It’s hard to say how exactly it happened — maybe the Riveters were in the midst of a line change — but as many as eight New York skaters appear to be on the ice at one time during the battle between the two teams. The officials didn’t dole out huge punishment, though, as only two players total were booked for infractions following the melee.
Long was handed a five-minute major for charging, two minutes for roughing and a game misconduct, while Johnston, who was blasted by Long, also got two minutes for roughing. In total, Long finished the outing with 19 penalty minutes. The rest of the contest would go without incident and the Whale put the finishing touches on the victory with an empty-netter to make it 6-1.
The NWHL has handed out supplemental discipline already this season and there’s a possibility it could be coming following the fisticuffs between the two sides Sunday. If the league does hand out suspensions, they’ll have to come before Jan. 9 — this coming Saturday the Riveters and Whale square off in a rematch and there’s potential for sparks to fly all over again.