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Boston Blades lose their final game of 2015

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Sunday's loss caps a difficult weekend for the Blades.

Boston Blades forward Rachel Farrel battles for the puck in Sunday's game.
Boston Blades forward Rachel Farrel battles for the puck in Sunday's game.
Andrew Cardinale

This past weekend might have been the most difficult for the Boston Blades all year.

The last time the team faced the Toronto Furies was the first weekend of the season. They left Toronto with a shootout win, there only win of the year.

In the intervening weeks, what was then a young and inexperienced team grew into a hard working group with great chemistry and a lot of heart. Despite not winning since that first weekend, they put Brampton on the ropes in several games and competed with what has turned out to be the strongest team in the league this year, Calgary.

All of that culminated in their last game against Calgary on Dec. 13, where the Blades were able to apply consistent offensive pressure throughout the game, especially on the power play. It was arguably their best game of the season, and they did it without their Captain, Tara Watchorn, who was out with an upper body injury.

Signs seemed to point to a breakthrough this past weekend at home against a struggling Toronto, who had only won 1 other game since facing the Blades earlier in the season. Unfortunately, the Blades weren't able to defeat the Furies.

Throughout the weekend, the Blades were without forward Megan Myers and all-star defenseman Dru Burns, who were both unavailable for the games. Watchorn did return for Saturday's game, but it was clear that she was still affected by her injury.

"She [Watchorn] was not herself this weekend," said Head Coach Brian McCloskey after Sunday's 4-0 loss.

The Blades gave up two goals in the first period that game. When they came back out on the ice for the second, big number 27 was not with them, putting even more stress on a team with an already short bench.

"I think, more than anything, this was the case of running out of a bit of gas this weekend. We were short bodies," McCloskey said. "It puts a lot of stress on the other players. I thought we looked ragged at times."

Boston struggled to adjust in the second, but, surprisingly, played well defensively. While giving up over twenty shots in the second, they held Toronto to just 12 in the third. Short Watchorn and Burns, Maggie DiMasi, Sarah Duncan, Clara St. Germain and Elizabeth Tremblay each stepped up big on defense. DiMasi and Tremblay also did as much as they good to help the offense, constantly rushing the puck through the neutral zone to create pressure in Toronto's zone. This lead to a fairly even third period, despite they obvious fatigue.

"The D that was out there, they did a great job. There were [players] that aren’t used to logging a lot of ice time back there, and I thought they responded really well," McCloskey said.

One surprise that came out of the weekend was a relatively new line that formed: Nicole Giannino centering Megan Shea and Rachel Farrel. The line was one of Boston's most consistent on the weekend and resulted in their only goal late in Saturday's game. Giannino's play in particular stood out, seeming re-energized by her line-mates.

The 100 shots she faced over the weekend puts Genevieve Lacasse at a staggering 741 for total for the season, almost 400 more shots than the next goaltender in the league. It's hard to imagine where this team would be without her stalwart play in net.

The Blades will have the week off for the holiday before heading up to Montreal for their first games of the season against Les Canadiennes on Jan. 2 and 3.