The Blades faced the Calgary Inferno for game two of their first meeting this season where they fell by a score of 9-0. They now look forward to their second China trip in franchise history.
Both Annie Belanger and Mariah Fujimagari got the start in net for the second straight game. In Game one, Belanger shutout the Blades making 17 saves and Fujimagari stopped 42 out of 47 shots.
The game started much like the previous night, slow through the first few minutes. There were not many scoring chances as both teams defended well, but the Inferno had the first opportunity off a flurry of shots five minutes in. However, it was defended well by Fujimagari to keep the game scoreless.
The first powerplay of the game went to Worcester as Katelyn Gosling was called for tripping at 8:41. The Blades however, couldn’t take advantage.
The Inferno used the momentum of the penalty kill to generate some zone time 12 minutes in. Calgary cycled the puck well, but Fujimagari prevented them from scoring.
The Blades countered with a flurry of shots of their own with 7 minutes to go. The forecheckers took the puck to the net and forced a rebound, where Lauren Williams had the second chance from the blue line. However, Belanger held strong to keep the gamed tied.
Another surge of Inferno pressure lead to Williams getting called for body checking at 14:02, giving Calgary their first powerplay of the game.
At 15:45, Brianna Decker managed to break through at the tail end of the powerplay to put the Inferno up 1-0. She beat Fujimagari on the open side after receiving the cross-ice feed from Rebecca Johnson. The goal was also assisted by Kacey Bellamy.
Just 35 seconds later, Calgary scored again on a breakaway goal as Kelty Apperson sped past the defense and beat Fujimagari stick side. Gosling assisted on the score.
The remainder of the period saw more chances for the Inferno, but Fujimagari was able to keep the deficit at two.
The score was 2-0 Inferno after one period of play. Shots on goal for Calgary were 16, 10 for Worcester.
Lauren Dahm took over for Fujimagari to start the second period.
Calgary quickly took a 3-0 lead just 1:09 in, as Blayre Turnbull scored on a 2-on-0 rush to beat Dahm. Venla Hovi assisted on the goal.
Another quick strike by Calgary came at 2:42, as Eden Murray beat Dahm to put the Inferno up 4-0. The goal was assisted by Tori Hickel.
The Blades attempted to cut the lead down to three on a great 2-on-1 opportunity at 3:40, but Belanger made the strong save to keep the Blades off the board.
The offense kept coming for Calgary as they scored yet again at 4:04 to make it 5-0. The goal came from Rebecca Leslie assisted by Decker. The Inferno’s three goals came in just two minutes and 55 seconds.
Carrie Atkinson was called for roughing at 6:59 to give Calgary their 2nd powerplay of the game. Meghan Grieves and Courtney Turner led a shorthanded chance, but Calgary defended well to force an unclean shot and Belanger made the save.
Grieves had another good opportunity midway through the period as she came streaking down the boards but her shot flew wide of the net.
The strong shift for Grieves continued as she blocked a shot with her skate at 9 minutes left. However, this forced her to head to the bench to shake it off and left the Blades down a body in the defensive zone.
Calgary took advantage and managed to keep the puck in the zone, generating almost a full three minutes of zone time between the 12 and 15 minute mark. However, the Blades’ strong defense kept the chances mostly to the perimeter.
At 16:23, Grieves returned to the ice and immediately had a golden scoring opportunity to put the Blades on the board. She received the pass and went in on the breakaway, beating Belanger on the shot but rang the post.
— Worcester Blades (@WorcesterCWHL) October 28, 2018
At 18:21, the Inferno made the game even further lopsided with their sixth goal. Rebecca Johnson beat Dahm on another 2-on-0 rush that got past the defense. The goal was assisted by Bellamy as well as Decker, her third point of the game.
After two periods, the score was 6-0 Inferno. Shots on goal for the second were 21 for Calgary to total 37 and 7 for Worcester to total 17.
Fujimagari made her way back to the net to start the 3rd period. Dahm finished the game having saved 17 of 21 in the 2nd.
The Blades, eager to at least get on the board, managed to come out of the gate hot. They had a very quick scoring opportunity just 30 seconds in, but the shot was denied by the post.
Another hit post for the Blades just 30 seconds into the period as they try to get on the board. #WORvsCGY
— Worcester Blades (@WorcesterCWHL) October 28, 2018
Calgary countered just a minute later, finding the back of the net for the seventh time in the game. Dakota Woodworth scored to make it 7-0 at 1:30 in, assisted by Hovi and Brigette Lacquette.
At 3:40, the Blades again looked close to breaking their scoreless streak as Grieves had another chance up close, but Belanger made the pad save.
Meghan Spurling was called for tripping at 11:21, giving the Inferno their third powerplay opportunity. However, they would not manage to extend their lead as Fujimagari made a save on a slapshot with six seconds left on the penalty.
The remainder of the period saw little change as the Inferno kept generating scoring opportunities. Rebecca Leslie had a second breakaway with only 90 seconds remaining, but Fujimagari once again held strong.
With 43 seconds left, Brianne Jenner scored the Inferno’s eighth goal of the game, assisted by Erica Kromm and Venla Hovi, her third point of the day.
The scoring was not yet done as Halli Krzyzaniak squeaked another shot by Fujimagari with just 4.5 on the clock, to put the Inferno up by 9. Woodworth assisted to earn her second point of the game.
Final Score: 9-0 Calgary as the Inferno put up 20 shots in the 3rd to total 57 and the Blades 6 to total 23.
Belanger earned her second career shutout in as many games, stopping all 23 shots she faced. Fujimagari saved 31 of 36 in her two periods of play.
First Star: Brianna Decker (Calgary Forward)
Second Star: Rebecca Johnson (Calgary Forward)
Third Star: Annie Belanger (Calgary Goaltender)
Meghan Grieves spoke after the game about her scoring chance in the third period.
“We were playing some solid d-zone as a line, luckily I blocked a shot off my shin-pad and took the chance to drive to the net. I think one thing that we talked about was taking the ice and driving to the net, so I tried to do that,” said Grieves. “Unfortunately, it hit the inside of the post and didn’t go in, but those are going to come.”
She also touched on what areas of the game the team needs to focus on improving.
“I think that we need to focus on bearing down and putting pucks in the net. We’re not going to win games unless we start putting some goals in, even if it’s 1-0, we’re not going to win,” she stated. “Honestly I think we need to believe that we can do it, because we’re a really skilled team. We’ve got a bunch of really good goal scorers, we’ve just got to believe and go out there and fire it in the net.”
Lastly, Grieves commented on what she was looking forward to about the team’s upcoming trip to China.
“Our China trip last year was awesome, such a fun time. We got really close as a team, that’s when we really started to hit our stride last year,” she reminisced. “So i think we’re excited to not only go over there and play really good hockey in front of a really good crowd, but also hang out and have some fun together and get closer as a team.
“China is an amazing experience, it’s something not many people get to do, so I think we’re just excited to take advantage and have some fun and then play some good hockey.” Grieves concluded.
The Blades have a week off before making the trip to Shenzhen, China to take on the Vanke Rays in a three game set. Game one will be Tuesday, November 6 with a puck drop at 8:30 pm EST. Game two will be on Friday November 9 at 8:30 pm and finally Game three on Saturday November 10, at 3:30 pm EST.
To stay up to date with the Blades all season long, be sure to follow the Blades on Twitter @WorcesterCWHL.
Zach Bamberger is a Communications Intern for the Worcester Blades. All media requests and inquiries should be sent to Merisa Boyd, Director of Communications, at [email protected]