Jetta Rackleff makes second straight appearance as Blades fall to Montreal 9-0

The Worcester Blades faced Les Canadiennes de Montreal in game two of their first series of the season. Despite periods of offensive pressure, the Blades failed to score against Montreal’s Olympian-filled roster and were defeated 9-0 in Game two. 

Pregame

Mariah Fujimagari made the start for the Blades after coming off a combined 103 minutes of play during the three-game series in Shenzhen, China. She started and played the entire game 1, and came in relief for Lauren Dahm and Jessica Convery in games 2 and 3, respectively. She totaled 69 saves on 76 shots. 

For Les Canadiennes, Marie-Soleil Deschenes made her season debut. This was her second career start after playing only one game in 2017-18, a 15 save shutout against the Blades.

First Period

Montreal got off to a very quick lead as Mélodie Daoust scored just 1:08 into the game, beating Fujimagari on her first shot faced. Marie-Philip Poulin and Anne-Sophie Bettez assisted on the goal.

The Blades responded with a number of shots on Deschenes in the next few minutes, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

Poulin made it 2-0 Montreal at 5:08 as she sped down the wing and beat Fujimagari stick side. Catherine Daoust assisted on the goal.

A minute later, Crossman sped past Montreal’s defense and ripped a shot that beat Deschenes, but unfortunately not the iron.

7 minutes in, Olivia Atkinson wristed a shot in the slot but Fujimagari wrapped it up for the save.

At 8:56, matching roughing penalties were called on Montreal’s Karell Emard and Worcester’s Taryn Harris.

Just 12 seconds later, Lauraine Rougeau took a minor for elbowing, leading to a Blade’s 4-on-3 power play for a minute and 47 seconds.

Worcester was able to move the puck well with the open ice, but couldn’t generate any decent scoring chances as Montreal held the triangle.

11 minutes in, Fujimagari made a strong save on the doorstep as Emard brought the puck to the net.

Just a minute later, Fujimagari made a phenomenal desperation save as she prevented a second chance rebound with the post-to-post move.

At 13:56, Harris took a body checking penalty to give Les Canadiennes their first power play of the game.

Less than a minute into the penalty, Knight scored off a one-timer to make it 3-0 Montreal.  The shot just squeaked through Fujimagari’s closed pads. Poulin assisted for 3rd point of the game, as well as Bettez for her 2nd point.

Kaitlin Spurling took a tripping penalty at 17:01 to give Montreal another powerplay opportunity.

Fujimagari made a solid stick save on Bettez’s shot which turned into a shorthanded breakaway for Courtney Turner, but her shot was turned away by Deschenes.

Bettez ended the period with a strong chance for Montreal as she  brought puck to doorstep, but Fujimagari was there to make the save.

After the end of one, the score was 3-0 Montreal. Shots on goal totaled 23 for Les Canadiennes and 8 for the Blades.

Second Period

Jetta Rackleff came in to relieve Fujimagari to start the second.

Montreal’s Rougeau was called for a bodychecking penalty just 6 seconds into the period, giving the Blades their second power play of the game.

However, the Blades struggled to enter the zone, and a shorthanded chance for Montreal was saved by Rackleff halfway through the penalty.

At four minutes in, Megan Myers created a chance for the Blades as she brought the puck deep but the defense prevented a clean shot.

Rackleff made a strong save on the doorstep just a minute later, but gave up a goal at 5:39 as Montreal went up 4-0. Bettez’s hesitation move made Rackleff go down and she was able to put the puck in above her. Poulin assisted for her 4th point of the game.

At 7 minutes in, Stathopolous had a chance in the slot as she found an errant pass but just missed the net wide.

Photo by Mimi Murad.

At 8:02, it became 5-0 for Montreal as Taylor Willard’s shot was tipped by the Blades’ defense and Rackleff was unable to corral it.

Midway through the period, Mélodie Daoust ripped a slapshot which was saved by Rackleff. However, just seconds later it became 6-0 at 10:11 as Catherine Daoust scored. The goal was assisted by Willard and Knight.

Rackleff made a number of closeup saves over the next few minutes as Montreal showed no signs of slowing down.

There were not many scoring chances for both teams until the final three minutes when Montreal went up 7-0 at 17:09. Emma Martin’s shot from the slot beat Rackleff; the goal was assisted by Tracy-Ann Lavigne and Kim Deschênes.

The Blades generated a flurry of shots in the final two minutes but were able to find it for a clean chance on Deschenes.

In the final seconds of the period, Bettez had a clean breakaway but was prevented from scoring by Rackleff.

After two periods the score was 7-0 Montreal. Shots on goal in the period were 17 for Montreal, totaling 40 and 9 for Worcester, totaling 17.

Third Period

A tipped shot save by Rackleff at 2 minutes in lead to a scrum behind the net in which all ten skaters on the ice got involved.

The resulting penalties were called on Worcester’s Courtney Turner (body checking) and Demi Crossman (roughing) as well as Montreal’s Mélodie Daoust (roughing). Crossman and Daoust both received 10-minute misconduct penalties.

During Les Canadiennes powerplay, Willard rang the post but Montreal was unable to score.

At 4 minutes in, Meghan Grieves generated a chance for the Blades going in 1-on-0 but her shot was stopped by Deschenes.

At 6:17, another set of matching roughing penalties were called on Grieves and Melanie Desrochers, to make it 4-on-4 for two minutes.

The open ice gave Montreal a few solid chances as Deschênes put a strong shot on net short side at 7:30, but Rackleff made the save. Bettez brought the puck to the net at 8 minutes in, but again the chance was prevented.

The Blades went on the penalty kill again at 9:59, as Morgan Turner received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Montreal made it 8-0 at 10:44 as Rackleff leapt to snag the puck in mid-air but fell into the net behind the line. The goal was scored by Erin Ambrose and assisted by Knight and Poulin. It was Knight’s third point of the game and Poulin’s fifth.

At 13 minutes in, Poulin had another solid chance as she whacked at the puck in mid-air but couldn’t beat Rackleff.

The Blades took another penalty at 13:57, this time Courtney Turner was called for high sticking.

Montreal’s third powerplay score made it 9-0 at 14:28. A ripping shot by Ambrose beat Rackleff stick side; the goal was assisted by Poulin and Bettez, Poulin’s sixth point of the game.

At 15:02, Tracy-Ann Lavigne was called for tripping, giving the Blades a powerplay opportunity.

Just 7 seconds later, Courtney Turner and Hilary Knight received matching roughing penalties to make it 4-on-3 for a minute and 53 seconds.

A third penalty on Montreal was called on Desrochers for body checking at 15:58. This gave the Blades a man back (as Montreal was already down to 3 skaters), making it 5-on-3 for just over a minute.

Despite the long advantage, there were no decent chances on power play as the final minutes of the period wound down.

Montreal went looking for a tenth goal in the final minute but Rackleff held on as the game ended 9-0 Montreal. Shots on goal in the period were 18 for Les Canadiennes, totaling 58 and 10 for the Blades, totaling 27.

Three Stars

First Star – Marie-Philip Poulin, Montreal forward

Second Star – Ann-Sophie Bettez, Montreal forward

Third Star – Hilary Knight, Montreal forward

Next Game

Les Canadiennes and the Blades will face off again for a two-game series in Montreal on December 1st and 2nd. Worcester will take the Thanksgiving weekend off while Montreal visits Calgary before returning home to host the Blades. 

Be sure to follow the Blades on Twitter @WorcesterCWHL to follow the games and stay up to date with the CWHL season.

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].