One of the most distinct sounds in hockey is crisp slap of the puck against a stick as it is passed from one player to the next. It was a sound that was all too familiar in Marlborough last night and, unfortunately for the Boston Blades, it came almost exclusively from the Calgary Inferno.
The Inferno passed all over the Blades in their 4-0 road win. Particularly in the first period, Calgary made cross ice passes seemingly on a whim, helping speed up their already quick transition game.
"They just have too much team speed, too much puck control," said Blades coach Brian McCloskey after the game.
Boston, to their credit, came strong in the first couple of shifts, but were quickly overpowered when they gave up a shorthanded goal just over two minutes into the game. From there, the Blades were largely contained to their own zone, generating just four shots in the entire period to the Inferno's 21.
Calgary scored twice more that period, both coming from their ability to keep the Blades on defense.
"We were just puck watching," McCloskey said.
Despite only getting seven shots the rest of the game, six of which came in the third period, the Blades played better after the first period, particularly in their own zone. A quick lapse in the second resulted in the forth and final goal for Calgary, but the Blades were able to grind out a solid effort after that.
"I think we're battling out there," said Blades Assistant Captain Kristina Brown. "1We had a really good second and third period. We were in the right places defensively"
The line that seemed to have the most impact for the Blades down the stretch was the relatively new line of Grace Murphy and the St. Germain sisters, Clara and Sadie. Clara, like Elizabeth Tremblay, has played both offense and defense for Boston this year, but, since the return of Sadie from injury, McCloskey has moved Clara to center to great effect. Sadie scored her first goal last week and, last night, they were able to put some offensive pressure on Calgary.
Another new look for the Blades was the increased involvement, offensively, of their D. Throughout the game, defensemen Dru Bruns, Maggie Dimasi and Tremblay moved the puck through the neutral zone, helping establish zone presence for their forwards. To this point, that has largely been the exclusive realm of Tara Watchorn, but with her out of the lineup for the game, the others stepped up.
"We're trying to generate offensive chances and scoring chances and getting shots on net," said Burns. "Having the D pop in as a forth forward is only going to help."
Lastly, it'd be hard to talk about the game without mentioning another amazing performance by goaltender Genevieve Lacasse, who stopped 60 of 64 in the game. Lacasse has been the backbone of the team all season and came up with another dazzling display that evening.