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Wednesday, March 21 Sports

Fairfield County’s Dosdall, Russo represent NWHL vs. national team

On a lot of levels, Kiira Dosdall said, she wasn’t expecting the call she got from the National Women’s Hockey League deputy commissioner.

“Hayley Moore called me,” Dosdall said, “and I was so confused. I didn’t even say anything.”

Moore was calling to tell Dosdall, the former Fairfield resident playing for the NWHL’s Metropolitan Riveters, that she was selected to play for an NWHL team against the United States Olympic team this weekend in Florida.

When she found her voice, Dosdall was ready to go.

“I think it’ll be an exciting experience for all the NWHL players,” said Dosdall, a defenseman.

“I think it’ll be great competition, great games and a great prelude to the Olympics.”

Westport’s Rebecca Russo, a Riveters forward, was also chosen to play.

“I’m just so thrilled,” Russo said. “I’m excited just to get down there. There’ll be not only a lot of my teammates but a lot of player from other teams that I know: I played with Dana (Trivigno) at Shattuck. I played with Lexi (Bender) at Shattuck. It’ll be nice to play with each other again instead of against each other.”

The teams will meet Saturday night and Monday afternoon in Wesley Chapel, Fla., just north of Tampa.

“It’s the best of the best, the best in the world,” Russo said. “I’m honored. I’m excited. It’s humbling to think Team USA wants us to be their last push to Pyeongchang.”

Kelly Babstock will represent the Connecticut Whale, who play their home games at Terry Conners Rink in Stamford, on Team NWHL.

The Riveters are 8-0, the only team over .500 in the four-team league. The Riveters have scored 39 goals and allowed only 12 in the NWHL’s third season.

Dosdall has played all three seasons for the Riveters, who moved from New York to Newark, N.J., last season. Russo’s seven goals are tied for the NWHL lead in her second season in the league.

The Riveters began this season with the announcement of a marketing partnership between them and the New Jersey Devils.

“There’s been a lot of exciting news,” Dosdall said. “Going into the this year, it was kind of known, expected it to be a turning point for the league in terms of its survival, really. I had no idea this kind of (partnership) news was coming.”

Dosdall said she expected this to be a pivotal year especially with the national-team players tied up with USA Hockey.

“For the Devils to step up has been huge for us,” she said. “It really validates the NWHL, women and women as athletes.”

The teams played a doubleheader at the Prudential Center on Oct. 28.

“It’s a huge step in the right direction to partner with them, to play a doubleheader with them and the Coyotes,” Russo said. “We’re part of history, our coach told us that day. I’ll never forget that.”

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Michael Fornabaio|Sports Reporter