MARKHAM, On.—Hilary Knight led the way with four goals to secure the decisive victory for the Bos
MARKHAM, On. -- Hilary Knight led the way with four goals to secure the decisive victory for the Boston Blades over the Calgary Inferno Friday night at Centennial Community Centre.
The Blades will compete in the Clarkson Cup final for the second straight year.
Knight finished her exceptional evening with five points.
“It’s pretty fun having her as a line mate and a teammate,” said Kate Buesser. “Hopefully there’s another (performance like that) tomorrow.”
The defending champs will meet a surprise team in the Toronto Furies after the three-time Clarkson Cup champion Montreal Stars were eliminated Friday morning.
Calgary got into penalty trouble early and Boston capitalized.
Kelli Stack opened the scoring at 1:49 on the man-advantage when she collected a rebound in front of the Inferno net. 1:42 later, it was 2-0 on a deflection goal by Knight.
Calgary responded at 14:03 with a deflection goal of their own to cut the lead to 2-1. Taryn Peacock scored her first goal of the tournament. But the close score was short-lived as Boston extended their lead to 3-1 on a goal by Kate Buesser at 17:09 of the first period.
Kelli Stack and Kate Buesser both added one goal and three assists for the Blades.
It was a tale of two different games. As the score got out of hand in the second period, the contest became quite physical. In one particularly ornery shift, Blake Bolden took a body checking penalty after four or five calls might have just as easily been made. In fact, Julie Paetsch of the Inferno took the same penalty less than two minutes later.
“We knew coming into it they were going to be a physical team,” said Buesser, adding that they placed an importance on balancing protecting each other with smart, aggressive play. Boston made a conscious effort to drive to the net, something that distinguished the Blades in this tournament.
“We want to be in control of the flow of the game,” she said. “That’s one place where we can set the tone.”
The aggressive style played into the Inferno’s hands as they begun to get quality scoring chances, forcing Brittany Ott to make some key saves late in the second period.
Kathy Desjardins made 15 saves in the loss.
Boston split duties between its two goaltenders going into Friday night and settled on Brittany Ott to suit up against the Inferno. The Blades have allowed three goals all tournament. Ott won 10 of Boston’s 13 wins during the regular season.
Boston defeated Toronto 2-1 in their meeting earlier in the tournament. They are the only undefeated team (3-0) going in to the final.
Blades coach Digit Murphy, in her second season as bench boss, has her team playing the best hockey of the tournament. In 2012-13, the team captured the regular season title with 22 victories and went on to win the Clarkson Cup as Murphy won coach-of-the-year honours.
This will be the first time Boston and Toronto meet in the Clarkson Cup final. When Buesser was asked if she was surprised to see the Furies in the final instead of the Stars, she responded emphatically.
“No, not the way that they’ve been playing,” said Buesser. “We know what they’re capable of.”
The championship will be played and streamed live at 2pm ET on Saturday. The game will then be broadcasted on TSN2 at midnight and re-aird Monday March 24 at 7:30.
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