On Sunday, March 25th, 2018, the Metropolitan Riveters won their first Isobel Cup in NWHL history. After the game, we caught up with some of the team’s key players to see how they felt after winning the championship. Here’s what they had to say!
First, we spoke to Harrison Browne. He became the second player in NWHL history to win back-to-back championships. He described the feeling as “unbelievable.” He also became the first transgender player to win back-to-back championships. “I saw my chosen name on that trophy from last year and it was just, like, so crazy to see that. It’s just unbelievable.” Browne said.
When asked about whether or not there was a different feeling because it was a playoff game, he said, “No, I think we’ve all been in high-pressure games before, so we just kinda took it, just like any other game… we all had each other’s backs, we all played our game and that’s why we won.” Last year, Harrison Browne was a member of the defending champion Buffalo Beauts. He described them as “amazing.” When asked about the emotions that come with facing his former team, he said, “I think as soon as you’re on the ice, any of your friends, they turn into your enemies… I don’t really see them as my old teammates, I see my teammates now as my teammates.”
We also got a chance to speak with Jenny Ryan. The rookie-of-the-year nominee was beyond excited to win the cup as a conclusion to her first year in the league. “It’s an amazing feeling,” she said, “There’s so much hype coming up to the cup, especially since there’s four teams that you’re playing consistently and this is the game that matters, so it feels really great to win, especially with my first season in the NWHL and the hard work I put in.” It was hard not to notice the defender during the Isobel Cup Final, since she was especially on top of her offensive game. “I think that, [Courtney Burke] and I, we’re a very dynamic duo… I think today we were trying to work hard, do our best… not give up too many scoring chances, but then also playing the way we know we can… I think just keeping it simple.”
Next, we chatted with Miye D’Oench. She had been injured for almost the entire season, spraining her ankle in an exhibition game in January. She came back for the final game of the regular season, recording a goal against Boston. Today, she assisted the Isobel Cup-winning goal. She said that it felt “awesome” to finally be back. “Any chance to play the game is a privilege, so I’m so happy that I was able to come back.” She made sure to thank her doctors, her physical therapist, and her teammates for helping her along the way.
D’Oench also added that, even if she was “not feeling 100%”, once she gets on the ice, “the adrenaline kicks in”, and she feels ready to play once again. When we asked how it felt to win the cup after two long years in the league, the forward took a second to collect herself, smiling throughout the entire conversation. “So awesome. I love this team and I wouldn’t pick anybody else to do it with, so it’s absolutely great.”
The final two players that we got a chance to talk to were original Riveters, playing for the team for all three seasons. First was Kiira Dosdall.
She was beaming when asked about how it felt to finally take her team all the way this year, saying “it feels amazing. It’s the best feeling ever.” To the alternate captain, the atmosphere didn’t really change from the regular season to the Isobel Cup Final. “On one hand, it’s just another game – we play the same, we show up, we go through our routine, we get on the ice. The stakes are higher, that’s really the only difference, and I think we tried to not focus on that during this game. Just play our game, do everything we can.” When asked if there was added pressure that came with playing the defending champs, she responded with a confident “No.” Dosdall went on to say, “I think we’ve [been] good… It’s different, season-to-season, so I think we’ve had a tremendous rivalry this year especially, so it was really more about beating the team of 2017-2018.”
Finally, we talked to Madison Packer, who has been a huge part of the team since the first puck dropped back in October of 2015. “It’s pretty special,” she said. “I think especially because there’s a couple of us… [Ashley] ‘Stretch’ [Johnston], Bray [Ketchum], Kiira [Dosdall]… We’ve all been here since the beginning. If someone would’ve told me that I would’ve been standing here three years later, I wouldn’t believe you.”
The forward described this year’s cup run as “a good journey” and “a lot of fun.” She added, “we just had a good year, you know, everyone deserves it, and it was fun.” When asked about whether or not the stakes were higher because of the team they were playing in the final, Packer’s answer was a definitive “no.” She went on to say, “we didn’t care who we were playing. We didn’t want to focus on them at all. There was a lot less of the ‘between-the-whistles’ stuff today because we made it clear, whether through media or just through the first couple shifts that we weren’t going to put up with it. That’s their game, they want to get under your skin, and there’s no room for it right?” With a smile, she concluded by saying, “We didn’t care who we were playing, we were gonna focus on us, and that’s when we play our best.”
Want to read more about the 2018 NWHL Isobel Cup Playoffs? We have coverage from the beginning of the playoffs, all the way up until the trophy was handed out. You can find a general playoff preview here, an Isobel Cup Final/first round recap here, and an Isobel Cup Final recap here.
Did you watch the Isobel Cup Final? What did you think of the result? Let us know by tweeting us, @PuckItUpBlog, where you can also find coverage from the big game