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Boston Blades split weekend series with Brampton Thunder

The Boston Blades took their first loss of the season Saturday in a shootout, but proceeded to rout the Thunder 6-0 on Sunday thanks to a Jordan Smelker hat trick.

First off, apologies all around for the lack of CWHL coverage and live-tweeting this weekend.  American Thanksgiving had me in Pennsylvania until Saturday, and illness kept me from getting back to Boston in time for the 12:30 Sunday puck drop.  The Blades took care of business in my absence, back on the ice after their cancelled series last weekend against the Montreal Stars.

While the Blades lost their first game of the season Saturday night, but it was a fairly even matchup that ended in a shootout.  (As in the NHL now, the CWHL regular season has a five minute overtime before heading to shootout rounds.)  The Thunder's win was made possible by goaltender Erica Howe, who held the fort stopping 48 of 49 shots in regulation and preventing shootout goals on attempts from Hilary Knight, Monique Lamoureux, and Rachel Llanes.  The Blades' regulation goal came from Casey Pickett, her first of the season, in the second period.  The game tying goal that would send the game to extra time came at 14:41 of the third period from Jesse Scanzano.  Geneviève Lacasse for the Blades stopped 23 of 24 shots in regulation, and allowed a shootout goal to to Brampton's Jamie Lee Rattray.  Llanes' shootout attempt was must-score in order to keep the shootout going, but she failed to score.  Also as in the NHL, overtime/shootout losses award teams one point in the standings.

With Sunday's quick turnaround, the Blades were able to bounce back quickly.  Brampton started Howe in net again, who got the loss in a 6-0 meltdown for Brampton.  They pulled her after two periods in favor of Liz Knox.  Jordan Smelker, Hilary Knight, and Tara Watchorn scored in the first.  The second period erased hopes of a Brampton comeback.  Smelker scored her second of the game less than a minute into the period, and after the Thunder failed to score on a power play, Dania Simmons was assessed a roughing penalty and a 10 minute misconduct.  Brampton's frustrations continued when Scanzano took an additional roughing penalty several minutes later.  Smelker would add her third goal for the hat trick before the period ended, and Monique Lamoureux would score to make it 6-0 in the third.  Brittany Ott was perfect in net, stopping a breakaway by Rattray in the third to preserve her shutout.  Still, she only had to stop 15 shots through all three periods as the Thunder failed to stay out of the box or mount the effort that kept their first game of the weekend series more level.

The Blades have one more series before the League takes a brief break for the All-Star Game, which is on Saturday December 13.  All-Star Game captains will be decided by fan vote, which you can do by clicking here:  Many Blades (and Americans!) could use your vote.

In addition, both of last weekend's cancelled games against the Montreal Stars are now listed as forfeited losses on the Blades website: Game 1, Game 2.  This affects the standings slightly, dropping the Blades' record to 4-2-1 and allowing the Stars to leapfrog them with a 5-4-1 record.  However, the Blades will catch up in terms of games played this upcoming weekend and have a chance to get back on track.

This week, the Calgary Inferno are in town for games on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Friday's game will be played at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, MA at 7:30, with the Saturday and Sunday games at 7:30 and 12:30 back at the Clark Athletic Center.  This is the Inferno's only trip to Boston this season, with the remaining three games between the teams taking place in Calgary in February.  I should be on hand for at least two of this weekend's games to bring you live coverage on Twitter and a more intimate game recap.  Come out to the rink if you can!  Tickets, as always, will be on sale at the door and online at the CWHL online store for instant e-ticket printout.

CORRECTIONS: An earlier version of this article stated that Knox started for Brampton in net on Sunday when in fact it was Howe again.  Also added a detail provided to me by Meg Linehan (who also provides our Blades photos!) since she was at the game and I was unable to watch.