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Boston Blades lose two to Calgary

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Boston's first two games at home end up as losses.

Blades  Assistant Captain Kristina Brown.
Blades Assistant Captain Kristina Brown.
Andrew Cardinale

If you were to look at a stat sheet, The first two games at home for the Boston Blades this past weekend would look surprisingly similar to their two-game set in the weekend prior.

In the two game stint in Calgary on Oct. 24 and 25, the Blades were outscored 11-2 and out shot 102-41. The next weekend, at home but still facing the Inferno, Boston was again outscored 11-2 and out shot 110-32.

What changed over the Halloween weekend was that much of the negatives for the Blades were isolated to just two periods: the second period of each game.

On Saturday, six of Calgary's seven goals came in the second period, and they out shot Boston by 21. All four of the Inferno's goals on Sunday also happened in the second, this time only out shooting the Blades by 9.

"I thought we played a little better overall today, but the second period was our downfall again," said Blades Head Coach Brian McCloskey after the game on Sunday. "They seemed to control the play for most of that period. We were struggling to get the pucks out of our own end....and the transitional turnovers we had, they capitalized on."

As has been arguably the Blades' biggest weakness early in the season, the transitional game suffered in each of the second periods. The Blades were stuck in their own zone and rarely made it through the neutral zone.

Two such occasions on Sunday let directly to goals. In both instances, a breakout along the side boards for Boston was broken up near the red line, leading to an odd-man-rush for Calgary.

"We were turning it over on the wall a lot. that's something that we need to get better at," said McCloskey.

The one bright spot of these second period slumps was the Blades' first goal of the weekend, scored by forward Megan Shea off of an odd-angle shot from behind the goal line.

"Our strength is being annoying in the offensive zone, coming at them with speed and strength and trying to force turnovers," Shea said after the game.

Shea, after winning a puck battle in the corner, realizing that Inferno goaltender Kathy Desjardins hadn't faced a shot in some time, took a chance.

"Just throw it at the net. Good things will happen."

Though the Blades played better in the first period of each game, it was the third periods where they really shined. After Saturday's game, Blades Captain Tara Watchorn identified the very first play of the third period as how she wants to see her team play. Boston won the face off and took it directly into the Inferno zone, resulting in one of the teams best' scoring chances of that game. On Sunday, they would capitalize on a similar play.

After Blades Assistant Captain Kristina Brown won the opening face off, the puck quickly found its way deep in the Inferno's zone. When her line mates won a puck battle behind the net, Brown was in perfect position to capitalize, scoring just 25 seconds into the period.

"My line, the whole time, was doing a really good job of fore-checking. Erin [Kickham] and Megan [Myers] did all of the dirty work and made a really nice pass to me," Brown said.

Brown is quickly establishing herself as one of the best, off-season moves for the Blades. Identified for her leadership qualities, she quickly settled into that role for Boston, wearing the "A" since the very first game.

In addition to scoring two shootout goals in the team's only win so far, she kept the Inferno honest on Saturday with her physicality and didn't shy away from scrums after the whistle to back up teammates. She continued on Sunday, flying around the ice, seemingly willing her team to stay competitive.

"We're a new team, but we're improving every single day and every single game. If we can button up in the second period, I think we'll really have some chances to be a contender," she said.

The Blades are going into a bye week at a good time for the team. Rookie forward Sadie St. Germain went down with a knee injury in the second period on Saturday and didn't play on Sunday. The time off will give her an opportunity to heal and the team a chance to work on some of their issues in practice before facing the Brampton Thunder on Nov. 14 and 15.