After two tough losses to the Thunder, the Boston Blades hopped to rebound this past weekend up in Brampton. Unfortunately, the Thunder had other plans.
The Blades lost both games, the first of which seemed like a regression for the young team. Boston came close in two at home against Brampton and were looking to build off those positives when they visted the Thunder this weekend. Instead, they succeeded 12 goals over the two games, nine of which in one game.
That game, on Saturday, Nov. 21, had two unusual elements for the Blades. Goaltender Genevieve Lacasse gave up 9 goals, her most in a single game this season, but faced just 37 shots. Though that number doesn't seem out of the ordinary for a typical game, Lacasse has faced a lot more this season and has given up a lot less, begging the question if facing 50 to 60 shots a game is catching up to the veteran netminder.
Aside from Lacasse, one of Boston's strongest aspects this year is their penalty kill, as the Blades successfully killed all but one penalty going into this past weekend. Though they didn't give up anything on Sunday's game, they allowed two goals while shorthanded on Saturday.
"Saturday we just weren't consistent," said Blades forward Megan Shea on Monday.
Shea scored the her team's lone goal in their 9-1 loss on Saturday, redirecting a shot from Megan Myers on a powerplay.
While the team played better on Sunday, getting their highest shot total of the season, they were unable to score, losing 3-0.
Down both Kristina Brown and Erin Kickham, who were unavailable for the weekend, Coach Brian McCloskey switched things up, sending out forward Kelly Paton for the first time this season. Paton, who centered a line with Shea and Myers, made an impact early, helping her team get pressure on Thunder netminder Liz Knox.
"She elevated the play of everyone around her," said Shea of Paton.
The Blades outshot Brampton in the first period, 15-10. Despite being down 1-0 going into the second, the team looked up, however their second period woes came back to haunt them. They looked flat footed, spending too much time in their own zone and succeeding another goal.
The third was better, but by that time there was little they could do to come back.
Boston's off this weekend, but will take on the Thunder at home on Dec. 5 and 6 in the final two games of the teams' six game series. As they look forward to those games, the Blades hope to play more consistent and take advantage of their opportunities.
"We know we can compete with them, we just need to be better about finishing our chances," said Shea.