The Worcester Blades opened the home portion of their 2018-2019 Canadian Women’s Hockey League schedule this weekend with a pair against the Toronto Furies. Saturday afternoon’s contest was a battle of goaltenders as the two sides fired 70 shots on goal with the Blades ending up on the wrong end of a 2-1 final.
It was the Furies who got on the board first at 13:58 of the opening period after Worcester goaltender Mariah Fujimagari stopped a flurry of shots from in close. Toronto forward Natalie Spooner managed to finally bang the puck home for the 1-0 Furies lead. Shannon Stewart had the assist on the goal.
The Blades got it back to even at 5:19 of the third period on a nice goal by Casey Stathopoulos. Kaitlin Spurling started the play by forcing a turnover, and Stathopoulos picked up the loose puck and skated down the left wing side on a two-on-one break with Rebecca Fleming. Stathopoulos held the puck the whole way and beat Toronto netminder Elaine Chuli low.
It was a turnover at their own blueline that did the Blades in as the puck eventually ended up on the stick of Spooner for the breakaway goal at 13:23. Worcester did everything they could to get the equalizer but Chuli was up to the task as the Blades went down 2-1 in the first game.
Sunday’s game two was almost a carbon copy of the first game with the goaltenders once against stealing the show, and like Saturday the Blades found themselves on the bad side of a 2-0 score.
Both of Toronto’s goals came in the first period against Worcester starting goaltender Jessica Convery, and they were both scored by Furies forward Shiann Darkangelo. Her first goal came at 1:46, and was assisted by Brittany Howard, and her second was at 13:58 with helpers from Renata Fast and Julie Allen.
From there it was all about the goaltending as Amanda Makela pitched a 33-save shutout for Toronto and Lauren Dahm was a perfect 16 for 16 after entering the game in relief of Convery to start the second.
There was one that looked like it may have beaten Dahm, and it came with about six minutes left in the second period while Toronto was skating with a skater advantage on a delayed penalty call. The officials ruled the shot attempt hit the crossbar and didn’t enter the net, and the stream was not high enough quality to tell if it was in or not. The puck did not bounce away with much force, leading this writer to believe it may have actually gone in.
In the long run it didn’t matter much as Worcester has now lost all four games they’ve played this season while scoring just two goals. If the Blades can’t find some offense somewhere this will be another long season for the recently transplanted franchise.
The Blades next play against the Calgary Inferno, with Saturday’s pick drop at 6:30pm and Sunday’s at 12:30pm. Both games are at the Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Centre.
Scratches for the Blades in on Saturday were Lizzy Aveson, Lauren Dahm, Nicole Giannino, Erin Hall, and Jennifer MacAskill. Jessica Convery, who was last week’s “CWHL Goaltender of the Week”, was the back-up netminder. On Sunday Aveson and Hall were again scratches, and they were joined by Mariah Fujimagari and Megan Turner. Lauren Dahm began the game backing up Convery and entered the game to start the second period.
In the box score the game winner by Spooner on Saturday is listed at 12:23, but the video clearly shows the time elapsed should be 13:23. There’s going to be some growing pains as the Blades settle into their new home, so a small mistake or two that has no bearing on the outcome is not a big deal.
After Saturday’s game both squads took in the Worcester Railers home opener, with the Blades team signing autographs as the “Saturday Night Signing” in the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Pavilion.
The box score doesn’t list an attendance number, but those at the game pretty much uniformly said it was a good crowd, and it looked that way in the video stream. There were less there on Sunday, but it still looked to be a decent crowd.
The Furies have one Massachusetts born player, defender Jordan Hampton. She attended Northeastern University for a couple seasons before transferring to North Dakota in 2014. She also won the silver medal in the 2012 IIHF U18 World Championship, where she notched an assist in five games. Last season she played for the Boston Blades. Unfortunately Hampton was injured in Saturday’s game, breaking her left wrist.
After watching the Blades stream for a couple of games I was wondering who was doing their play-by-play because I thought it was really good. Turns out it’s Max Wolpoff, and while his name probably won’t ring a bell if you do a Google search you’ll hear what will likely forever be his most famous goal call.
The three stars of Saturday’s game were
1) TOR – 24 Natalie Spooner
2) WOR – 35 Mariah Fujimagari
3) TOR – 10 Shannon Stewart
The 210Sports player of the game was Casey Stathopoulos.
The three stars of Sunday’s game were
1) TOR – 22 Shiann Darkangelo
2) TOR – 34 Amanda Makela
3) WOR – 35 Lauren Dahm
The 210Sports player of the game was Lauren Dahm.
TORONTO 1 0 1 – 2
WORCESTER 0 0 1 – 1
1st Period-1, TORONTO, Spooner 2 (Stewart), 13:58. Penalties-Miller Wor (delay of game), 3:30; Spurling Wor (elbowing), 8:30; Harris Wor (elbowing), 15:15; Hampton Tor (hooking), 17:09; Nurse Tor (holding), 18:08.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Miller Wor (body checking), 8:59; Nurse Tor (hooking), 9:22; Spurling Wor (interference), 13:47; Channell Tor (body checking), 14:49.
3rd Period-2, WORCESTER, Stathopoulos 2 (Spurling), 5:19. 3, TORONTO, Spooner 3 (Channell), 12:23. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-TORONTO 10-9-10-29. WORCESTER 6-17-18-41.
Power Play Opportunities-TORONTO 0 / 0; WORCESTER 0 / 0.
Goalies-TORONTO, Chuli 1-1-0-0 (41 shots-40 saves). WORCESTER, Fujimagari 0-2-0-0 (29 shots-27 saves).
TORONTO 2 0 0 – 2
WORCESTER 0 0 0 – 0
1st Period-1, TORONTO, Darkangelo 1 (Howard), 1:46. 2, TORONTO, Darkangelo 2 (Fast, Allen), 13:58. Penalties-Fast Tor (hooking), 10:10.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Fedeski Tor (interference), 2:45; Brown Wor (body checking, misconduct penalty), 14:26; Allen Tor (slashing), 20:00.
3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Myers Wor (body checking), 1:57.
Shots on Goal-TORONTO 11-7-9-27. WORCESTER 10-10-13-33.
Power Play Opportunities-TORONTO 0 / 0; WORCESTER 0 / 0.
Goalies-TORONTO, Makela 1-0-0-0 (33 shots-33 saves). WORCESTER, Convery 0-2-0-0 (11 shots-9 saves); Dahm 0-0-0-0 (16 shots-16 saves).