History began Sunday afternoon in Connecticut’s Chelsea Piers as the NWHL played its inaugural contest between the hometown Whale and the visiting New York Riveters. And less than three minutes into the game, Jessica Koizumi entered her name into the record books with the league’s first goal.
Early in the first period, the Whale went on the power play thanks to an interference minor called on the Riveters. With the extra skater, Connecticut skillfully worked the puck around the offensive zone. After working the puck down low, Kelli Stack made a pass through the Riveters’ penalty-killers, the puck was tipped back to Koizumi and she made no mistake on a net-front scramble:
The Riveters would tie the contest in the second period, but Kelli Stack notched the game-winning goal with 14:35 left in the second frame. Kelly Babstock and Shiann Darkangelo added an insurance tallies and the Whale took home the first win in NWHL history, downing the Riveters by a final score of 4-1.
The game between the Whale and Riveters was the debut of the NWHL’s live streaming service, Cross-Ice Pass, and was broadcast live on YouTube. At times, close to 2,000 viewers were tuned into the contest. Considering it was the NWHL’s first broadcast, things couldn’t have gone better. At times, the camera work may have been a bit shaky, but the video quality and commentary — play-by-play by Phil Giubelio and color by Erika Lawler — was fantastic.