Kickham Becomes Franchise Leader in Games Played, Anderson Scores Twice in 9-3 Loss

The Markham Thunder took game two vs. the Worcester Blades by a score of 9-3, to complete the season sweep. A close and exciting first half quickly got out of reach, but the Blades arguably put forth their best offensive performance of the season.

Pregame

Lauren Dahm made the start for the Blades after last playing in Markham on December 16, making 23 of 28 saves before being relieved by Jetta Rackleff in the 6-1 loss.

Erica Howe made the start in net for Markham. She last appeared on January 26 against Montreal, saving 46 shots in the 2-1 victory.

First Period

Victoria Bach got things started for Markham, redirecting a shot on net from close range just 30 seconds in. However, Dahm made the save.

Nicole Kosta followed up with a wide wraparound try at two minutes in, but was turned aside.

The Blades first shot came at 5 and half minutes in, as Taryn Harris wristed a shot in from the blue line. However, Howe made the routine save.

Meghan Grieves generated a chance at 7 and a half minutes in, bringing the puck down low and backhanding a shot on net, but just missed the net as it went above the crossbar.

Kaitlin Spurling received the game’s first penalty as she went to the box for hooking at 8:14.

Markham’s first power play was cut short as Jamie Lee Rattray tripped Lauren Williams behind the net at 9:10, making it 4-on-4 for just over a minute.

Dahm made the initial save onMegan Bozek’s slapshot, however she couldn’t stop Bach as she scored with just 10 seconds left in the 4-on-4. She sped into the zone and hit a quick wrister, beating Dahm high glove side. The 1-0 goal came at 10:05 with Laura Stacey and Laura Fortino each assisting.

During the short 55 second power play for the Blades, the offense spent time in the zone but couldn’t generate any solid chances.

At 12:23, Courtney Turner gave the Thunder their second power play opportunity, as she took a delay of game penalty.

Once again, Markham capitalized on the advantage as Bach scored her second goal at 13:46 to make it 2-0 Thunder. As the trailing skater, she received the pass from Rattray and beat a screened Dahm high glove side.

Another player-advantage  for the Thunder came quickly as Carrie Atkinson received a body checking call at 15:21.

However, this time the Blades were able to tighten up and make the kill. Dahm made a close up save on Rattray and a pad save on Bozek’s slapshot from the blue line.

Using that momentum, the Blades scored to make it 2-1 with 1:56 to go. Nicole Anderson received the pass from Grieves down low, and sent a wrister on net to beat Howe.

Looking to tie the game, Worcester buzzed in the offensive zone during the last minute of the period, but couldn’t find twine.

At the end of the first period of play, the score was 2-1 Markham. Shots on goal totaled 16 for the Thunder and 6 for Worcester.

Second Period

Just 15 seconds into the period, Dahm made a great split save to keep it 2-1.

Countering quickly, Chelsey Goldberg and Courtney Turner went in on a 2-on-1 a minute in. Howe saved Goldberg’s shot, and Morgan Turner had a second chance but couldn’t finish.

Demi Crossman generated a chance three minutes in, putting a deep slapshot on net during a partial breakaway.

Atkinson received a hooking penalty at 3:28 to give the Thunder their 4th power play opportunity. However, it was mostly routine saves for Dahm as the Blades completed the kill.

Zone time and a scramble in the crease right after the power play expired led to a goal for Nicole Brown at 6:37. Kelly Gribbons and Becca King assisted the Thunder goal making the score 3-1.

Jess Jones went to the box for body checking at 6:55, giving the Blades their second power play of the game.

An early opportunity during the advantage came for Megan Myers and she had a close up try, but Howe made save.

It became 5-on-3 for 1:31 as Kristen Richards was sent for body checking at 7:24.

The Blades quickly capitalized as Myers scored just 11 seconds into the personnel advantage. Williams’ shot from the blue line, creating a rebound for Myers who hit the open net and made it 3-2.

With 1:49 of the 5-on-4 remaining, the Blades created a couple chances. Kaitlin Spurling sent a shot on net in the waning seconds, but couldn’t tie it up.

A scramble in the crease at 12:19 caused some confusion as the Thunder managed to push the puck across the line, but the whistle may have already been blown. After some discussion, the goal was awarded to Markham, making it 4-2. Official scoring on the play showed a Rattray goal from Kristen Richards.

There was no doubt on the next one as it became 5-2 just 41 seconds later at 13:00. Bach managed to flip the puck over Dahm to complete the hat trick, with Stacey assisting.

After the score, Mariah Fujimagari came in to relieve Dahm with seven minutes left to play in the period.

A Thunder penalty on King for cross checking at 13:26 gave the Blades their fourth power play opportunity.

However, it became 6-2 at 14:17, as Nicole Kosta cashed in shorthanded. She sped past the defense and beat Fujimagari high glove side on her first shot faced.

Still on the advantage, the Blades took a penalty at 14:55 to make it 4-on-4 for 32 seconds. Atkinson went to the box for holding, her third penalty of the game.

The score became 7-2 at 15:08. Just 13 seconds into 4-on-4 action. Jocelyne Larocque beat Fujimagari assisted by Kristen Barbara.

The remainder of penalty was killed by the Blades with three minutes left to play.

However, Stacey made it 8-2 as she found the open side at 17:22. Bach and Rattray both earned an assist on the play.

Morgan Turner created a chance with a one-timer in the last minute. She received the pass from Grieves in the slot, but couldn’t get a clean shot on net.

Right after the missed opportunity, Turner took a tripping call with 46.3 seconds left to give Markham their sixth personnel-advantage.

The score after two periods of play: 8-2 Markham. Shots on goal during the frame were 23 for the Thunder, totaling 39 and 14 for Worcester totaling 20.

Third Period

The Thunder started the period with 1:14 remaining on the rolled over power play. They managed to hit the post but the Blades killed it off.

A 2-on-1 for Markham came a minute after the penalty expired, but King couldn’t put a clean shot on net.

The teams traded rushes during the ensuing five minutes of play, but kept chances to a minimum as each goalie made routine saves.

Another hit post for Markham came at 8 minutes in, as a 2-on-2 opportunity nearly converted.

The Blades generated their own 2-on-1 a minute later, however Howe stopped Goldberg’s shot.

Myers had a scoring opportunity at the midway mark, shooting from the slot, but put the puck just wide.

The Blades converted at 9:48 as Anderson scored her second of the game. After receiving the pass from Courtney Turner down low, she beat Howe from close range to make it 8-3.

Meaghan Spurling received the Blades’ seventh penalty of the game at 11:49; two minutes for slashing.

The Thunder peppered the net during the advantage, but couldn’t beat Fujimagari.

Grieves and Myers generated a 2-on-1 a minute later, but the Thunder defended the cross pass well.

A third hit post of the period for Markham came with five minutes remaining. Brown sent a shot from the slot that beat Fujimagari cleanly, but not the iron.

With four minutes to go, the Thunder generated a 2-on-0, but the pass to the trailing player missed wood and went out of the zone.

The game would not end quietly however, as it became 9-3 with only 32.3 left on the clock. Larocque’s second goal came as she sent a shot in from the point. Fujimagari never saw it as she was screened behind two players. Alexis Woloschuk assisted on the game’s final goal.

The final score: 9-3 Markham. Shots on goal during the third were 18 for the Thunder, totaling 57 and 11 for Worcester, totaling 31.

Three Stars

First star – Victoria Bach, Thunder forward

Second star – Nicole Anderson, Blades forward

Third star – Laura Stacy, Thunder forward

Post Game

Erin Kickham spoke after the game about becoming the franchise leader in games played.

“It’s a great feeling. Moving to Worcester this season, it was a big change for us, but it’s a special group,” she said. “I’m lucky to still be a part of this team and continue to work to grow the game and grow it here in Worcester.”

She also explained what she attributes to her ability to play so many games.

“It’s all about the people that you’re showing up for: the girls in that locker room. It’s all about your teammates and coming together,” she explained. “I think you’re with some of your best friends and you’re playing a game you love, so why wouldn’t you show up?”

She also touched on arguably the team’s best offensive performance of the season and how they hope to continue that effort.

“It was a good first period for us, really in both games. I think now it’s about putting a full 60 together,” she expressed. “If you take away a few minutes, it’s a different game. It’s about taking momentum and running with it and getting more goals to come away and win some games.”

Next Game

The Blades now head out on the road to visit the Calgary Inferno in their final meeting of the season on Saturday, February 9 at 3:30 p.m. MST and Sunday, February 12:30 p.m. MST.

Be sure to follow the Blades on Twitter 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]