Alberta Plays Valiantly in Loss to Boston at Saddledome
For the second time in the 2012-13 Canadian Women’s Hockey League season, a National Hockey League arena hosted a regular-season contest. Calgary’s Scotia Bank Saddledome played host to the hometown Team Alberta squad and the Boston Blades Friday night.
In a battle of first place (Boston) and last place (Alberta), the 2-1 final score proved that the standings were not indicative of the talent on the ice. While a blowout may have been likely, Alberta played valiantly as Boston emerged with a very hard-earned win.
With so many Alberta players having grown up in the province or other parts of Western Canada, the Saddledome contest was a great point of pride. Playing in front of friends and family, Alberta gave one of their most outstanding performances of the season.
A scoreless first period displayed Alberta’s grit and determination. A stifling defense neutralized the Blades' high-powered offense. Kathy Deschenes of Team Alberta continued to establish herself as one of the hardest working goaltenders in the CWHL. Her tireless efforts and tenacity worked in frustrating the Blades offense.
Heading into the second stanza, rookie phenom Hilary Knight scored for Boston at the 2:37 mark. As one of the top five scorers in the CWHL, Knight is Boston’s leading scorer with 20 points. Assists were credited to Cherie Hendrickson and Kate Buesser.
Since Alberta was shut out in a Nov. 17 contest at the Air Canada Centre (the first CWHL match in an NHL arena), the blue and gold did not want the trend to repeat. With the fans eager for a goal, the third period would find Alberta finding itself on the score sheet.
After defender Gigi Marvin gave Boston a 2-0 lead, Alberta’s Jenna Cunningham replied with a power-play marker, causing the Alberta faithful to erupt. Of note, Cunningham made franchise history by becoming the first Team Alberta player to score a goal in an NHL arena.
Despite the momentum, Alberta could not tie the score, as Boston prevailed by a very close tally. While its postseason hopes are quickly evaporating, Alberta still made the hometown faithful proud. Many positives such as the goaltending of Deschenes and a strong defense (which features four members of the Canadian national team) give fans hope for the future.
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