New York Riveters netminder, Katie Fitzgerald was named the National Women’s Hockey League’s Player of the Week following her shutout of the Connecticut Whale on Sunday.
Fitzgerald has faced 94 shots, while turning away all but six, in her last three starts between the pipes for the Riveters. On Sunday, she stopped all 28 that the Whale threw her way.
Following a strong performance last weekend in Western New York, against the Buffalo Beauts, she has shown why her coach, Chad Wiseman has entrusted her with the number one spot in the crease. During that weekend in Buffalo, she helped the Riveters pick up three out of a possible four points in the standings.
The Illinois native and St. Cloud State University graduate faced the most shots in the Western Collegiate Hockey Conference during her senior year with the Huskies. She put up a 2.99 goals against average with a .907 save percentage in the 2015-2016 season.
Following graduation from St. Cloud State, Fitzgerald thought her professional career was just about over after, she told the St. Cloud Times, “I had tried to get a job playing in Europe and that did not pan out. I had accepted my retirement.”
She then moved back home to Des Plaines, where she was playing in a men’s recreational league, when she got the call from Wiseman. Due to one of the goalies the Riveters thought they had having visa troubles, New York needed to find some help between the pipes.
Fitzgerald said, “He called and he said, `I have been talking to some of the people on our team and in the area and we are looking for another goalie.’ He gave me the layout of how the team works and the dynamic and what a typical day and week is.”
She continued, “We chatted week-to-week for a while. Then I had found out they hired Becca Baker, who was our goalie coach the last two years.” Fitzgerald added that continuing to have Baker coach her had helped to remove any of the doubts she had about joining a four-team league, that included many members of the United States National Team.
When she arrived at training camp, she was the number three goalie on the depth chart and now just one month into the season has earned the top spot between the pipes and player of the week honors.
The Riveters will be back on the ice, at the Barnabas Health Hockey House, on Saturday, December 3, as the Beauts make their way to Newark, New Jersey. The following day, the first-place Boston Pride will pay a visit to the “Brick City.”