Boston Blades @ Calgary Inferno
If this is the preview of the Clarkson Cup Final, oh boy, hold onto your seats! This weekend’s Boston Blades @ Calgary Inferno series was a LOT of fun to watch/listen to. (Remember, Calgary home games have audio streaming even if the game isn’t live streamed by the league!)
Calgary’s been red hot this season (if you’ll pardon the pun 😉 ) but Boston isn’t anything to scoff at either, and they showed it this weekend. Calgary won the first of the three matches this weekend in a tight 3-4 win. Shots were also incredibly close, Boston with 28 and Calgary with 29. Rookie Jordan Smelker was paired up with Brianna Decker, also a rookie for the team, and the two were playing really well together on the blue line, but also contributed all three of the goals for Boston together. (Decker assisted on two of Smelker’s goals, and also put one in unassisted.) Calgary’s goals were more spread out, with Jessica Wong and Rebecca Johnston both getting goals unassisted. The other Calgary goals were scored by Cunningham and Stone. Notably, Aina Takeuchi got her second point on a secondary assist to Stone. The rookie player from Team Japan has played in 6 games for Calgary as a defense, and while she’s not seeing a ton of minutes, it’s great to see a non-North American player in the league and doing well.
Saturday, the game went to a shoot out tied 3-3 until Blake Bolden potted the game winner in the second round of the shoot out. Shots again were pretty close in the entire game, but Boson had the edge– final tally was 37 for Boston, 32 for Calgary. Yet again, Smelker and Decker were instrumental to the goals scored for Boston, assisting on Jillian Dempsey’s second period goal, and with Smelker scoring the first goal in the third. Bolden got the third tying goal on a power play, assisted by Rachel Llanes.
Sunday, it seems like Boston’s other talent started to hit the mark, and the Blades won 4-1 over the Inferno. Monique Lamoureux, who’s been cycling between forward and defense as the team seems to need her, made her first mark on the scoring sheet for this weekend. She picked up the opening goal of the game, assisted by Weber. Buie and Bellamy combined for the second goal short-handed, and Decker picked up the third goal assisted by Dempsey and Lamoureux. While Calgary’s Brittany Esposito managed to score the lone marker for the Inferno unassisted and short-handed, Brianna Decker capped off the game with a fourth goal for Boston unassisted on the power play. Shots this time were tilted a bit more in Boston’s favour– Boston put 38 on Delayne Brian, while Calgary only managed 21 on Ott.
As regards the injuries mentioned in our weekend preview, it looks like Jessica Campbell was on the ice for Calgary– she picked up at least one point this weekend. However, from what I could tell, neither Irwin (Calgary, unknown injury) nor Knight (Boston, something with her leg) were on the ice this weekend. Knight does appear to have the boot off– let’s hope that rehab is going well and we’ll see her on the ice for the Clarkson Cup!
Brampton Thunder & Toronto Furies
So Brampton and Toronto split this weekend, although Toronto picked up a point in Saturday’s game as things went to a shootout. As of the writing of this piece, Toronto has pulled ahead of Brampton very slightly, with 19 points in 22 games. Brampton has 14 points in 20 games, with two games in hand on Toronto. Toronto hasn’t locked fourth place (and entrance to the Clarkson Cup) yet, but it’s gonna take some work for Brampton to get there.
This weekend’s games were, appropriately for a series with such important points on the line, hard-fought and scrappy. Saturday’s game was the closest, ending 3-2 after a shootout. There were 11 penalties in Saturday’s exchange, include 20 & the game for a hit by Meagan Aarts that sent Toronto’s Leah Whittaker into the boards at a bad angle. (It’s called hooking on the game sheet, but it looked like a hit from my angle.) Whittaker was boarded off the ice, and taken to the hospital. According to the Thunder’s twitter, as of Monday she was sore but nothing was broken. There was no news yet as to if she’s be able to join the team in Boston next weekend. Whittaker’s injury took Brampton down from 14 skaters to 13.
The even shorter bench and the even more penalty-ridden play (32 minutes on 16 penalties between the two teams) seemed to have a negative affect on Brampton Sunday when they traveled to play Toronto. Brampton lost 5-2, including a goal scored on a penalty shot by Carolyne Prevost. Aarts was playing this game, so we can assume no suspension for her from Saturday’s game.
In case you were confused, Alyssa Baldin of the Furies was in fact wearing a different number this weekend. No longer wearing her old 5, as of this past weekend, she will be wearing 57 in honour of her father.