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Blades shut out Furies, twice, and prepare for weekend swing to Calgary

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The Blades put 99 shots on Christina Kessler and Sami Jo Small, scoring 11 goals and earning two shutout wins

Brianna Decker and Kacey Bellamy congratulate Brittany Ott after her shutout against the Toronto Furies
Brianna Decker and Kacey Bellamy congratulate Brittany Ott after her shutout against the Toronto Furies
Masha A

When the CWHL stream started up for the 7:30PM game in Toronto between the Blades and the Furies, I took a look at the Blades roster, and was pretty sure it was wrong.  Only eight forwards were listed on it, and only five defense.  This did turn out to be incorrect--Kaleigh Fratkin was missing from the list at game time, though she did play, and Monique Lamoureux was listed as defense though she played most of the night as forward.  However, all told, the Blades only took 14 skaters into the game at the Mastercard Centre.  Notably missing was captain Hilary Knight.

Despite having a full lineup, the Furies found themselves unable to match the Blades' rolling offense.  After carrying the play for the initial half of the first period, the Blades broke through when a slapper from the point by Tara Watchorn beat Christina Kessler, putting the Blades up 1-0.  Kelly Cooke would make the score 2-0 six minutes later, picking up a rebound from a shot off the rush by Corinne Buie.  Brittany Ott at the other end of the rink wasn't terribly busy, but stopped all 7 shots she faced in the first.

In the second period, with Blake Bolden in the box for interference, Brianna Decker began yet another scoring tear, getting behind Toronto defense Megan Bozek and Tessa Bonhomme to score a shorthanded goal from the slot, making the score 3-0.  The Furies had chances to score afterwards.  Jillian Dempsey took a penalty for delay of game and Kelly Terry was buzzing around Ott's crease.  However, the next tally would be the Blades again, as the Furies lost Janine Weber in front of the net and Casey Pickett floated a pass to her.  One-on-one with Kessler, she was able to put the Blades up 4-0.

Brianna Decker made it 5-0 on her second of the night, barreling out from behind the net and surprising Kessler with a quick shot.  Kessler was pulled after that in favor of Sami Jo Small.  The Blades wouldn't take long to score on Small, as Decker weaved her way into the slot again and shot one through traffic.  It was later credited as being deflected by Janine Weber, and the Blades would go up 6-0 at only 11:48 of the second.

Ott made her best save of the night on Meagan Aarts shorthanded, who had a clean breakaway with Kristy Zamora in the box for tripping.  Aarts went five hole but Ott was able to squeeze her pads and keep the puck out, preserving her shutout.  After the second period horn, the entire Blades team went to Ott to hug and give her stick taps before heading to the locker room.

The only tally of the third period would be another beautiful play from Decker, who passed to Watchorn at the right point as they entered the zone, and then went straight to the net.  She would tip in Watchorn's shot from the point for her third goal of the game, and the Blades would go on to win 7-0.  Ott stopped a total of 22 shots.

For Sunday's 12:45PM rematch at Mastercard Centre, the Blades would gain Meghan Duggan and Jessica Koizumi on their roster and play with nearly a full complement of players.  Duggan scored the game-winning goal just 3:03 into the first period with Kessler back in net.  The next two periods would be marred with penalties by both teams, including roughing penalties to Rachel Llanes and Brianna Decker, and kneeing penalty to Furies captain Michelle Bonello.  The Blades' power play was what allowed them to pull further ahead, with Dempsey making the score 2-0 just as a tripping penalty expired to Bonello early in the second. 

Pickett added a power play goal of her own early in the third with the Furies' Shannon Moulson in the box for body checking, and just a minute and a half later Alyssa Gagliardi would make the score 4-0 on a feed from Weber.  The score would remain the same until the horn.  Geneviève Lacasse stopped 26 shots in her shutout.

Boston generated nearly 100 shots on the Furies' net over the weekend and used their talented offense to keep the ice tilted.  Brianna Decker added 3 goals and 2 assists over the weekend, bringing her season total up to 17 points in just 5 games.  Scoring from depth forwards and from the back end made these both stunning, all-around wins.  Without near-perfect goaltending from Christina Kessler, as they got the last time these teams met, the Furies struggled to stay in the game.

The Blades are idle this weekend but travel to Calgary for a three-game series versus the Inferno on February 13, 14, and 15.  As of this weekend, they are close to overtaking the Inferno for the league lead, as the Inferno's offense has been cooling off a bit lately.  (Don't miss Inferno coverage at Matchsticks and Gasoline! Must-read stuff as the playoffs approach.)  Their final home games of the season are on February 21 and 22 against the Brampton Thunder, and they end the regular season in Montreal on February 28 and March 1.  After that, it's on to the Clarkson Cup.