The Blades (0-5-1) entered their second game against the Vanke Rays of the weekend on Sunday November 5, trying to build off their strong performance in a shootout loss the night before.
Vanke scored late in the first, and early in the second. Despite the Blades putting some pressure on a couple times, the Rays never looked back as they rolled to a 7-2 victory.
The Blades came out strong in the first period. The team moved the puck well through the neutral zone, and had several quality chances on Vanke goaltender Elaine Chuli. Despite some mistakes by Vanke, the Blades had a hard time capitalizing on their opportunities. In fact, both teams had quality scoring chances in the first 5 minutes, including one that Blades goalie Robyn Chemago was forced to make a great save on.
At the 6:25 mark, Elizabeth Aveson was called for hooking which put the Rays on the power play. The Blades killed it off, and were immediately put on the power play themselves when Hannah Button was called for too many men on the ice, at 8:31. The Blades had plenty of opportunities, but the Rays successfully killed it, and the game returned to even-strength.
As the period was winding down, Vanke’s Hannah Button connected on a pass from Ashleigh Brykaliuk at the 15:19 mark to open the scoring. The period ended with the score 1-0 Vanke, despite the Blades outshooting their opponents 20-15.
The scoring picked up in the second, with a pair of goals for Vanke in the first 4 minutes. The first goal was scored by Hannah Button at 1:02 of the period for her second of the game on a scramble in the crease. Quinn Zhao and Cayley Mercer picked up the assists to make it 2-0 Rays. The second Vanke goal was scored on the power play by Ashleigh Brykaliuk at the 3:51 mark, assisted by Cayley Mercer and Emma Woods. Within a blink of an eye, it was 3-0 Rays.
Boston managed to draw a body checking penalty from Vanke’s Xin Fang, which turned into a Meghan Grieves power play goal just 8 seconds into the man advantage. Vanke quickly responded with a strike from Brooke Webster at the 13:22 mark of the period, making the score 4-1 Vanke. This lead to Blades Head Coach, Casey Brugman making a goaltending change, bringing in Lauren Dahm in relief of Robyn Chemago.
The Blades got another power play chance at 14:23, with a holding penalty called on the Rays’ Yue Hou. Once again, Boston went to work quickly on the PP, as Megan Myers scored unassisted just 15 seconds into the man advantage.
The score was 4-2 heading towards the end of the period, until the Rays’ Cayley Mercer scored on a pass across the slot from Ashleigh Brykaliuk with just 38 seconds remaining in the period. The second period ended with the score 5-2 Vanke Rays, despite the Blades once again outshooting them, by a margin of 19 to 16.
The third period of the game was fairly uneventful on the Blades end. Vanke’s Emily Janiga scored on the rebound of a shot from Brooke Webster to make it 6-2 Rays at the 8:43 mark, and Ashleigh Brykaliuk added another for the Rays with 3 seconds remaining in the game. There was a 2-minute period where 4 penalties were assessed, two for each team, but none were scored on. The game ended with a final of 7-2 Vanke, dropping the Blades down to 0-5-1 on the season.
One of the pivotal moments of the game was the goaltending change made by Head Coach Casey Brugman in the second period. On the move, Coach Brugman had this to say,
“I was just trying to give my team a spark on the bench. A couple quick goals, and a little change in the momentum like that, and a goalie change can go a long way.”
One of the standouts for the Blades offensively was Meghan Grieves, who was noticeably all over the ice all game long. Grieves commented on the 56 shots her team put on goal, and how they build off that for the third game against Vanke.
“I think the amount of shots we get on the goalie is a positive. I think it comes down to just burying them, and once we figure out how to put all of our chances in the back of the net, the score will be flip flopped.”
The Blades have one final chance to take one against Vanke at home, as they play again on Tuesday, November 7th at 7:40 P.M. back at Larsen Rink. The Blades will look to pick up a win, as they aim to end their win-less streak to open the season.
Written by: Sean McLean