Blades Battle Hard but Fall to Vanke in Final Home Game of 2017

The Boston Blades (0-6-1) took on the Vanke Rays (4-1) for their final home game of the calendar year on Tuesday, November 7, where they would fall by a final score of 4-0.

Blades goaltender Lauren Dahm, who saved 37 of 41 shots faced, got the start against the Rays’ Elaine Chuli, who earned a 28-save shutout.

First Period:

Photo by Merisa Boyd

The possession game went back and forth without a whistle blown for the first 5 minutes of the game. Vanke struck first on the score board just 43 seconds later after Dahm made the intial stop, but Brooke Webster was able to bury the second chance opportunity for her third goal of the season.

Boston had the only power play of the period after Vanke’s Qinan Zhao went to the box for interference, but they weren’t able to bury their 2 shots on goal in the man advantage.

The Blades had puck possession in their offensive zone in the final minute, but headed to the locker room down 1-0, with Vanke leading in shots 17-10.

Second Period:

Boston’s Courtney Turner took a body checking penalty 22 seconds into the second, allowing Vanke’s Cayley Mercer to score her fourth of the season on the power play.

The Rays continued to dominate zone time as Kate Leary took a body checking penalty at 4:52. Megan Myers broke her stick during the kill, but the Blades managed to keep the Rays scoreless and had 2 scoring chances after getting back to 5 on 5 play, with forward Michelle Ng providing the best chance for the Blades in the period.

With 6 minutes left, the Rays were back in the Blades end of the ice where Dahm made a full split save to keep her team down by 2.

Vanke would find their way on the board again three minutes later though with Emma Woods scoring her first of the season at 17:02.

The period had an aggressive ending as Vanke’s Emily Janiga took a slashing penalty at 17:31 followed by Vanke’s Mercer and Boston’s Meghan Grieves taking body checking and roughing penalties at the 18:10 mark.

Playing 4 on 3, Dahm had to make 2 shorthanded stops with under a minute left followed by a Kaitlin Spurling scoring chance for Boston that came up short in the final seconds.

With Vanke taking 15 shots and Boston taking 12 in the period, the middle frame would end with Vanke leading 3-0.

Third Period:

Right after the face-off and 5 seconds in, Ng would head to the box on a slashing call, but the Blades penalty kill stood strong.

With the puck bouncing around the net and Dahm making the initial saves, Ashleigh Brykaliuk scored the Rays’ fourth goal of the game at the 4:41 mark off another second chance opportunity.

Elizabeth Aveson followed up with a good scoring chance six minutes in, but Chuli made the save.

Photo by Merisa Boyd.

Blades’ Alternate Captain Kristina Brown took a hard hit ruled incidental contact and was escorted off the ice by her teammates and athletic trainer. She did not return to the game.

Boston had one final power play opportunity with under two minutes to go as Vanke’s Minghui Kong took a slashing penalty. They would then empty the net to get a 6 on 4 chance, but Chuli and the Rays held on to the shutout.

Photo by Merisa Boyd.

Post Game:

Ng spoke after the game about what her team needs to focus on in the next two weeks and what she expects to see from her team vs. Calgary.

“We know we have a lot to work on. I think the effort’s there. It’s more of just ‘how can we click? How can we do the little things?’ I think it will come,” she stated. “We had scoring chances all weekend and Tuesday. It’s burying them and bearing down in front of the net. When we played Calgary the first time, we competed with them. It’s just bearing down and putting those pucks in the net.”

What’s next?

The Blades have two weeks away from game action before traveling to Calgary to face the Inferno on November 25 and 26.

Written by Merisa Boyd.