Thursday Thoughts: Women’s sports taking center stage


It’s another Thursday Thoughts, and I’d remiss if I didn’t start this week’s post off with a big congratulations to the Boston Pride for their second Isobel Cup win as champions of the National Women’s Hockey League. They are the first team to win the NWHL playoff championship twice.

Many people have asked me over the last couple of years why the Worcester Blades, who played in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League at the Worcester Ice Center, we so bad and how they could go from one of the best teams in the league to the absolute worst. The short answer boils down to three words: The Boston Pride. The real answer is, as you might expect, a lot longer than that.

The Canadian Women’s Hockey League was for most of its existence an amateur association, with the players not getting paid to play. The then Boston Blades were one of the top teams in the CWHL, winning Clarkson Cup championships in 2012–13 and 2014–15, and losing in the finals 1-0 in overtime in 2013-14. Things were rolling along nicely for Blades, until after the 2014-15 season, when the National Women’s Hockey League formed as a professional league and they established the Boston Pride. All the former top Blades players jumped ship to the new pro league and promptly won their first Isobel Cup.

Now having to start over with lesser players the Blades never were able to get back on track, winning just four games over their final four seasons, including none in the one season in Worcester. So the Worcester Blades’ troubles are all because of the Pride’s success. Although it’s really hard to blame them considering everyone would choose to be paid vs doing something for free.

One other question I get is why the Blades’ game results don’t show up in the “this day in Worcester hockey” postings on 210Sports. There are two reasons. The first being when the CWHL went belly up all the team websites went down, so gathering that info requires a ton of research, and not all of it is available as press releases, meaning I’d have to manually write a lot of game stories without the benefit of access to box scores. The second is I’d rather remember the effort and passion those women put into playing a game they loved, and not focus on the results that they had absolutely no control over.

Local Collegiate Results
On Thursday in Women’s lacrosse Hawks senior Arianna Calouro and juniors Clare Conway and Julia Ravenelle each scored four times for Becker as the Hawks cruised to an 18-5 win over the Anna Maria AMCATS at Alumni Field on the Becker campus. Conway added five assists to her stat line while Calouro and Ravenelle both had two assists. Kylian Kelly (Shrewsbury High) dominated the draw controls for the Hawks finishing with 10 DCs on the afternoon, matching her career-high. Chloe Isola made a career-high eight saves for the Hawks, improving to 1-1 on the year. Junior Ashley Rufo and freshman Raegan Hachey both scored twice for Anna Maria. Ashley Sheehan made nine saves in the AMCATS goal.

In baseball, Anna Maria College defeated Rhode Island College in non-conference action 9-5 at the New England Baseball Complex. RIC is ranked 10th in the New England Baseball Journal Coaches Poll for the New England region. RIC took a 2-1 lead into the fifth and extended that lead to 5-1 after four walks in the inning, leading to one score and a single up the middle by Nate Vigeant to plate an additional two. In the bottom of the fifth Adam Twitchell (Shrewsbury, MA) started the inning off with an RBI single to left field, scoring one. The next batter was Noah Holland, who came up with two on and delivered the biggest at-bat of the game with a three-run shot to left field to tie it up at 5-5. They added one more later in the inning when Kosta Drosidis (St. Peter-Marian) hit his own home run that just cleared the left-field fence to give the AMCATS their first lead of the contest. The Anchorman wouldn’t score the remainder of the ball game, but Anna Maria would add onto their lead in the bottom of the sixth on a suicide squeeze that was executed perfectly by Zac Genovezos. Scoring would end in the bottom of the seventh when the ‘CATS tacked on two more runs on a single up the middle by Nick Genatossio (Sutton High). Anthony Pingeton (Holy Name) picked up his first win of the season on 1.1 innings pitched 1 hit allowed and 1 strikeout.

In Women’s lacrosse on Saturday Junior midfielder Ashley Rufo scored five goals as Anna Maria opened their 2021 home schedule with a thrilling 14-8 win against visiting Dean College at Carposo Field in Paxton, Massachusetts. Rufo’s five goals on the day led all scorers on the day. The junior continues her dominating play against the Bulldogs, having scored eight goals against Dean last season. AMCATS sophomore goalkeeper Ashley Sheehan picked up the win in net, finishing with nine saves. Kyana Altif (Whitinsville, MA) had a goal for Anna Maria.

The Assumption University women’s lacrosse team earned their second straight victory of the season with an 8-5 final at Bentley on Monday afternoon. The Greyhounds were led by senior Allison Foley who had four goals in the win. Sophomore Isabella Jackson added two goals. Allie Collins made an impressive 10 saves in goal for Assumption and improves to 2-0 on the season. The Greyhounds have won two out of the last three meetings with the Falcons.

Boston Teams This Week
Thursday
Baltimore @ RED SOX, 2pm
Pittsburgh @ BRUINS, 7pm
Friday
Houston @ CELTICS, 7:30pm
Saturday
Baltimore @ RED SOX, 1pm
REVOLUTION @ Los Angeles FC, 2pm (ex)
Pittsburgh @ BRUINS, 7pm
Sunday
Baltimore @ RED SOX, 1pm
Charlotte @ CELTICS, 6pm
Monday
Philadelphia @ BRUINS, 7pm
Tampa Bay @ RED SOX, 7pm
Tuesday
BRUINS @ Philadelphia, 7pm
Tampa Bay @ RED SOX, 7pm
Philadelphia @ CELTICS, 7:30pm
Wednesday
REVOLUTION @ LA Galaxy II, 2pm (ex)
Tampa Bay @ RED SOX, 7pm
NY Knicks @ CELTICS, 7:30pm

Worcester Hockey Alumni Highlights
Thursday Yanni Gourde goal

Thursday Joe Pavelski goal

Friday Spencer Asuchak goal

Friday Lane Scheidl goal

Friday Matt Lane goal

Friday Tomas Hertl goal

Saturday Willie Raskob goal

Saturday Nic Pierog goal

Saturday Frankie DiChiara goal

Saturday Justin Hamonic goal

Saturday Ben Thomson goal

Sunday Matt lane goal

Sunday Willie Raskob goal

Sunday Michael Pelech goal

Wednesday Michael Pelech goal

Wednesday Matt Lane goal

Bad calls are part of the game
For those that need me to set this up, in the NCAA Women’s basketball tournament on Monday night Baylor’s DiJonai Carrington was hit in the face knocked to the floor as she attempted a game-winning shot with her team down one in the final seconds of their Elite Eight matchup against UConn at the Alamodome. The shot was missed, and no foul was called. Now make no mistake, she was absolutely 100% fouled in the act of shooting. You won’t find a single educated basketball fan that will say otherwise.

Only the referees didn’t call a foul.

There is the only opinion that matters when the game is going on, and it was their opinion no foul occurred, and the non-call gave the Huskies an eventual 69-67 victory. As people might expect, social media erupted. One of those showing courage was LeBron James, who tweeted “Cmon, man!!! That was a foul!!”. Trust me, he was far from the only one. I could pad the word count of this post by naming hundreds of sports-famous people, including more than a handful of former UConn players, who thought it was a foul. But the comments of one person really stood out, because he knew it was a foul too. UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma was asked about James’ tweet during his postgame press conference. His answer is one for the ages.

He began, “I don’t think LeBron has ever won a game on a bad call by the other team, by the other officials. I probably doubt that in his career he’s ever won a game and decided to give it back because he looked at it and went ‘that was a foul’.

“So it is what it is, it is what it is, you know. The officials made…one time I asked one of the officials, ‘how did Paige end up on the ground with the Baylor player on top of her on a loose ball?’ He (the referee) goes, ‘I don’t know.’ That was the answer, he said, ‘I don’t know’. So you know, you want to go back and check every single call throughout the entire game and then add them all up, you don’t. And that’s the nature of the sports, that’s the nature of sports. We probably, we probably fouled a number of times during the game and we didn’t get called for it. They probably fouled the number of times during the game, and then didn’t (get) called for it. Or we got easy, or we got free throws because of non-fouls.”

Auriemma then said it best, when asked about the debate it would cause. “You’re welcome to do that. It’s not going to change the outcome. And you’re not going to make me feel bad that it was a foul.”

Because it never feels bad when you win.

Stuff you may have missed from 210Sports this week
March in Worcester hockey (210)

Not so big finish
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