Just before the beginning of the regular season, Blades veteran goaltender Genevieve Lacasse said that she expected to face more shots in the upcoming year. That prediction certainly came true in the team's season opener, as she took on 47 shots in the Blades' 2-0 loss to the Toronto Furies.
In fact it was Lacasse's play that kept the game close in the second and third periods, where the Furies turned up the pressure and out shot the Blades 37-14.
Things started off fairly well for the Blades. Returning forward Megan Myers drew a boarding call with less than a minute elapsed in the game, giving Boston an early chance to get ahead. The Blades couldn't capitalize, though, and Toronto had several short-handed opportunities during the penalty.
Another power play for the Blades resulted in much of the same, pointing out the team's biggest problem during the game: transitioning. The Blades played well on defense for much of the game, but could not cleanly break out of their own zone. They rarely got more than one or two passes in before being broken up in the neutral zone.
The Blades weren't completely devoid of scoring chances. At the end of the first, forward turned defensemen Ellie Tremblay showcased her speed and puck-handling ability, taking the puck from just inside her own blue line to the other end of the ice, beating several Furies players before getting off a solid back-hand shot on goal. Fellow rookie Sadie St. Germain had a similar, if shorter, rush early in the second.
Those two plays were emblematic of the Blades offense during the game. When they got chances, they were brief, with offensive zone pressure hard to come by.
The bright spot during the game, aside from Lacasse, was their penalty kill. The Blades killed three penalties, the first of which with the team's captain and best defender, Tara Watchorn, in the penalty box.
Spending much of the game in their own zone ultimately caught up to the Blades. They were out shot 21-5 in the second period and gave up a goal to Toronto's Alyssa Baldin. During an extended possession, Emily Fulton hit a wide open Baldin inside the circle to Furies on the on the board. Fulton would get another point in the third, scoring the team's second goal, assisted by Sena Suzuki.
Despite the lopsided play later in the game, the Blades showed glimpses of the team they could be. The talent seems to be there, but it's fairly obvious that they're a group that doesn't yet know how to play together. It's no fault of theirs, as they've only been practicing as a team for a few weeks now, but the question remains: how long will it take?
Note: The CWHL feed for the game went out in the third period, only returning with about 2 minutes left.