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Brampton Thunder sweep the Boston Blades

Jess Bazal | CWHL

The Thunder are pretty hot right now. They played two games against the Blades this weekend and won both. They've been on a tear as of late and have taken great strides in their first eight games. Last season, the Thunder won just three games in regulation. This season? They currently boast a 6-2-0 record.

Saturday, November 21st, 9-1 win

This one was a little wild, as you can probably tell from the score. Defender Courtney Birchard scored around six minutes into the game. Boston responded with a power play goal from Megan Shea. After that it was all Thunder, who scored eight unanswered goals. They had eight different goal scorers, too, with every single member of the top-six scoring at least one goal.

There's not a whole lot else to say about this game. The shots were 37-18 in favour of Brampton. Boston goaltender Genvieve Lacasse didn't post the best SV% but it doesn't seem like she had much help in this one.

Sunday, November 22nd, 3-0 win

This game was a little closer, obviously. This year's first overall pick, Sarah Edney, got the scoring started in the first (it was also her first CWHL goal). She jumped into the rush on a 2-on-1 with Kristen Richards. Lacasse gave up a long rebound on Richards' initial shot and Edney scored easily on the empty net. Jess Jones scored on a rush in the second, beating Lacasse with a nice wrister. Rebecca Vint scored the backbreaker in the third with a beauty of a goal (below).

It took Brampton a while to get going in this one. They were great at intercepting passes in the neutral zone and turning the play around but had some trouble entering the zone with possession until halfway through the first. They had a lot of trouble connecting on passes in the neutral zone, something that persisted (although less frequently) through the entire game. That's something that they have to improve if they want to compete with Montreal and Calgary.

They had some trouble on the power play in this one as well, despite scoring three power play goals on Saturday. On one power play in the second, they gave up two 2-on-1 rushes in the first 30 seconds, the first from a picked off pass and the second from getting beat to the puck on the boards. That wasn't the only instance of the second power play unit looking bad, either.

The other interesting story in this one was Kelly Paton, who made her CWHL debut. She was very noticeable in this one, in part because she's tiny (Ice Hockey Wiki lists her as 5'1"). Oh, and she was one of the few Blades forwards that generated any chances and was used in all situations. She's a pretty good skater, too. Some quick googling says that she coaches for the UWestern Mustangs. Don't know how she ended up on the Blades or if she'll play for them again this season but they could probably use a player like her.

The Good

  • Brampton's now on a six game win streak and have moved into second place in the standings (although Montreal is two points back with two games at hand)
  • Brampton's the only team this season to platoon their goalies: Erica Howe and Liz Knox have split the starts, with Howe usually playing the Saturday games. It's worked out well for them, too. They have a combined .930 SV% in eight games this season. Boston's at the complete opposite end of the spectrum, playing Lacasse in all 10 games this season.
  • The Thunder used the weekend to raise some money for Movember. The tweet phrasing, however, could use some work. I'm going to be mature and pass up the bevy of jokes about "member causes" I could make here.

The Bad

  • Next weekend will be a big test for this Brampton team, who will be facing the league leading Calgary Inferno for the first time this season.
  • I'm having a hard time thinking of other bad things so here's a fun one instead: Jamie Lee Rattray fell down a lot in Sunday's game. Three or four times that I counted in the second period alone. I'd say it was Clarksonesque but Rattray is actually an incredibly good player so that comparison would be pretty unfair.