The Calgary Inferno opened their season with a sweep of the Boston Blades at their barn, Winsport, last weekend. This week, they get a chance to repeat their offensive success before heading into a brief break for 4 Nations Cup action.
Last Week: Game One was a Calgary rout, 7-1, as the Inferno's high-powered offense (led by Jessica Campbell and Brianne Jenner) threw 56 shots at Genevieve Lacasse, overwhelming her and the Blades' defense. Game Two saw a few more chances for Boston, but more of the same, with the Inferno winning 4-1.
This Week: It's the Blades' home opener, finally, after Boston spent the first two weeks on the road against Toronto and Calgary. The Blades have just one win -- a shootout one against the Furies on Oct. 18 -- and four goals to show for their effort through four games. It hasn't been an easy transition for sure; after losing most of their players to the start-up NWHL, the Blades have struggled on both sides of the puck.
What You Need to Know: Four of Calgary's newcomers -- Jenner, Jill Saulnier, Elana Lovell and Blayre Turnbull -- recorded their first career goals last weekend, and Hayley Wickenheiser earned her first career points (two assists). No doubt this offense is the real deal.
Rebecca Johnston did not play during Opening Weekend and is not headed to Sweden for the 4 Nations Cup due to what a CWHL press release calls "precautionary reasons." Apparently she suffered an injury between training camp and now that's keeping her off the ice. Haley Irwin is also still not on the ice for the Inferno.
Meanwhile, six members of Calgary's roster are headed to join Team Canada, including Jessica Campbell, Sarah Davis, Bailey Bram, and Blayre Turnbull (who was named to the 4 Nations roster in Johnston's stead). Jennifer Moe and Laura Dostaler, both named as affiliate players for Calgary, will be on the roster this weekend in Boston.
Kelsey Webster might also be off the roster this weekend. After earning herself a 10-minute misconduct for a check to the head about five minutes before the end of last Sunday's game, she could sit out at least one match in Boston.
The Blades did seem to look more together as the second game progressed, getting more looks at Kathy Desjardins, so look for them to try and re-create that on home ice against the Inferno. With some of Calgary's key offensive weapons out of the lineup, this could be the time for them to strike.
Who to Watch: For Boston -- Tara Watchorn. Watchorn, along with Lacasse, has become kind of the backbone of this Blades team as one of its few returners from the 2015 Clarkson Cup season. She powered the offense as a blueliner last weekend and will probably do much of the same this weekend.
For Calgary -- Brittany Esposito is half of the dynamic former-rookie duo that, along with Johnston, provided a large chunk of point production for the Inferno last season. Without Campbell for the weekend, it'll be interesting to see what she does for the offense.
Puck drop is at 6 p.m. Mountain (8 p.m. Eastern Saturday at New England Sports Center and 8:30 a.m. (10:30 Eastern) at Tsongas Arena. The Inferno will apparently have goodie bags on hand for any fans who come to represent in Boston. The new CWHL Live streaming center has the Sunday game available for your viewing pleasure, and for $19.95 CAD (about $16 USD) you can view two games a week for the rest of the season.