By David F. Pendrys (Eyewitness checked against official box score.)
LOWELL, MA- The Calgary Inferno wrapped up their trip east with a win over the Boston Blades in the home of the River Hawks, Tsongas Arena Sunday morning. Calgary’s four goals came entirely in the second period in an interesting development. In goal for the Blades was the rock steady Genevieve Lacasse and opposite her was Kathy Desjardins. As is the norm now, Lacasse took a ton of shots, 50 in total, and saved 46 of them, Desjardins faced 17 and saved 15.
In the first period, Calgary was on the attack a lot racking up 20 shots to the Blades 4. Clearly there was an imbalance, however Lacasse took care of business throughout. Things became extra perilous late as Olivia Keefe went to the box for tripping at 13:37 and Rachel Farrel went off for Body Checking at 17:20. However the Blades killed off both penalties.
On the first penalty, Tara Watchorn cleared it at an opportune moment and Megan Myers kept the Inferno in their zone for awhile. Lacasse was called upon to make big saves in both penalties, including a sliding one to keep the net covered.
Hayley Wickenheiser, who was skating marvelously throughout the game, got the Inferno on the board first in the second when at 3:53 she got it in, assisted by Brittany Esposito. It would be Esposito who scored next as she ended up 1 on 1 with the Boston keeper at point blank range, she maneuvered just around the goaltender’s pads into the net assisted by Brianne Jenner at 8:04. Continuing the pattern, it was Jenner who scored next sliding up on Lacasse’s right and hitting it past her close at 13:13 apparently unassisted.
Boston actually responded quickly at 13:41 Megan Shea shot it at a strange angle, but it went in. I still haven’t figured that one out, but nonetheless the Blade had cut the deficit. However, Elana Lovell not long afterward struck for Calgary assisted by Esposito. She had shot the puck at Lacasse only to have the save made, but the puck returned to her and she shot it over the the goaltender. That would be it for the scoring in the second.
When play resumed in the third, Kristina Brown scored nearly instantly for the Blades, smacking a shot through the pads of Desjardins and in to cut the deficit again at 0:25 assisted by Burns and Myers. However that was it for the scoring. The Blades successfully killed two more penalties, which were nearly back to back.
Despite the lopsided shot total, the fact that scoring was lower is a tribute to Lacasse as well as to the fact that while the Inferno did often have the run of the defensive zone, the Blades had numerous sparks throughout the game. In the third especially it seemed like the Blades were getting more chances to break up Inferno offensive drives. The penalty kill holding off the offensive powerhouse that is the Inferno was also a bright spot as well.
Additional notes: (This is a not exhaustive list, but just some of the plays that might not make the score sheet that I noted. This is a shorter list than usual. )
- Erica Kromm had a blocked shot, and later Rhianna Kurio did as well for the Inferno.
- Tara Watchorn broke up a Calgary mid-ice setup pass.
- Kurio and Wickenheiser broke in, as they often did in the first, but Lacasse came up with the save. Later Wickenheiser would team with Esposito, but Lacasse thwarted them.
- Brittany Lyons of Boston cleared a scoring attempt started by Jenner.
- Dru Burns had a steal in the second to keep Calgary from continuing a scoring drive.
Giannino broke up Calgary setup tries multiple times.