As a way of commemorating the Calgary Flames sponsorship with the Canadian Women's Hockey League, the Saddledome will set the background for Team Alberta’s contest with the Boston Blades. The February 1 event will be free to the public and will include a postgame autograph session.
Despite the celebratory feeling, the match is a crucial one for Team Alberta’s postseason hopes. Sitting in last place, Team Alberta has endured an eight-game losing streak. As the squad has scored the fewest goals in the league, they will be hard pressed to score against the Blades.
Rookie netminder Genevieve Lacasse is the top goaltender in the CWHL. Along with Molly Schaus, the two are a formidable one-two punch between the pipes for the Blades. Goals will be very hard to come by whichever backstop is starting at the Saddledome. This dynamic duo will make the Blades very competitive in the Clarkson Cup playoffs.
With the Blades in first place, the match is equally important. Although a playoff spot is all but imminent, the Blades want to put distance between themselves and the second place Toronto Furies. As the squads are only separated by two points, every win is vital as the Blades look for their first-ever finish as regular season champions.
Of all the Team Alberta players, 29-year-old rookie Kerri Sanders holds the most unique connection to Beantown. The native of Saugus, Massachusetts competed at the collegiate level with the Boston College Eagles. From 2001 to 2005, Sanders accumulated 29 goals and 33 assists while graduating as the Eagles' team captain.
The Saddledome contest shall mark the second time during the 2012-13 CWHL season that Team Alberta has competed in an NHL arena. A November 17 tilt with the Toronto Furies at Air Canada Centre resulted in a 3-0 loss.
While Team Alberta will have to face a tougher opponent in Boston, fans are hoping that there will not be another shutout on NHL ice. With players such as Jenna Cunningham, Meaghan Mikkelson and Erin Duggan having grown up in Alberta, the opportunity to score a goal at the Saddledome would provide great memories.