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Recap: Les Canadiennes end the Furies' playoffs run

A frustrating performance against a dominant team spelled the end of the Furies' road.

Sonja van der Bliek and her new Furies jersey played over 30 minutes in relief.
Sonja van der Bliek and her new Furies jersey played over 30 minutes in relief.
Chris Tanouye / CWHL

I held off on doing this recap for a couple of reasons but partly in an effort to write a calm and somewhat balanced recap instead of a total rant because I do believe that the Toronto Furies are a team that tries hard and are probably even more frustrated with how their final game in the 2015-16 postseason went than I am. Then I looked at the numbers. I'll save you the swearing in some of my notes, but there will be rant elements.

Semi-Final Game 2, 7-1 Canadiennes


The Montreal Canadiennes played great hockey in this game and if you want to hear about it from a Montreal point of view, Robin Flynn has a nice piece over at HEOTP. It's easy to say that the Furies just got beaten by a better team. It's even true. But it paints a picture that's a lot more rosy than the gong show that was this game.

During the first Furies power play, not quite midway through the first period,  I watched Spooner chasing down a Canadiennes player on a shorthanded chance and thought "she looks tired". Considering that Natalie Spooner is the Furies leading scorer by a mile, and often their fastest player, this was a bad sign. The Canadiennes were definitely the faster team. They could chip the puck ahead and beat the Furies to the puck, sometimes even getting it so deep they narrowly missed a couple of icing calls. I don't know how many breakaways and odd man rushes this led to but I was tired of it by about halfway through the game.

The Furies fell into all the bad habits I saw from them all year, the things I'd started to think they were finally learning how to avoid. Players missed passes, or passed to areas with no Furies player in evidence and a couple of Canadiennes bearing down on the puck. They were called offside a lot, and often at the worst possible time. The power play was as bad as it usually is.

Despite this, and the number of times Christina Kessler was saved by her goalposts in the first period, I honestly thought the Furies still had a chance at making a game of it. They started the second period on the penalty kill because Sena Suzuki got called for "holding the stick" while busy doing her job keeping Marie-Philip Poulin from controlling the puck. The defense paying attention to Poulin is always a good sign, even if Suzuki got a little overzealous where the officials could see her. It was one of Toronto's better kills, with a few nice defensive plays by Prevost and Terry, and it even ended in the Canadiennes' zone. A glimmer of light.

About two minutes later, I thought the Furies might have found a turning point. On Julie Chu's first actual goal of the game (what was initially called her first was later credited to Ouellette), Kessler cried foul. She insisted that Ouellette had been obstructing her in the crease, but the goal stood. The replay (available to the broadcast but not on the ice, of course) suggested that Moulson had pushed Ouellette in, but Kessler was mad. At the next stoppage she even kicked the puck hard across the ice.  The Furies got fired up, things got chippy, it looked like something might happen... and then Baldin was called for roughing and Chu put the puck in the net on the power play for a 5-0 lead.

A little over half the game was left, but the Furies were more or less done. Kessler was pulled after allowing 5 goals on 25 shots. Sonja van der Bliek allowed another two on 22 shots. And in the second and third periods Toronto spent more time in the box than they had shots on goal in each period.

In total, the Furies had 14 penalty minutes to the Canadiennes' 6. Total shots on goal were 47-15 for the Canadiennes. The Furies had a whopping two shots on goal in the third period. Charline Labonte faced fewer shots than either of the two Furies goaltenders. This is not how you win any hockey game, much less one with do or die stakes.

Bright spots

The lone Furies goal by Alyssa Baldin was a damn nice one. Spooner and Moulson got the assists

  • Emily Fulton had a couple of nice scoring chances, and blocked a shot that led to a chance for Prevost.
  • Kelly Terry made a nice defensive play in the second and had a few scoring chances of her own.
  • The one lineup change from Friday's game was on defence: Sena Suzuki moved up to the first pairing with Moulson and as I mentioned above did a good job with Poulin as her assignment. I really hope she's back next year.
  • The goalies. Even if Kessler wasn't her usual self, she and van der Bliek made twenty saves each. Both of them deserve props.

The Final

The Clarkson Cup Final will be an awesome game between the Canadiennes and the Inferno. It'll be broadcast live from the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on the main Sportsnet channel (or on if you're outside of Canada) at 4:00 pm Eastern on Sunday March 13th. The Furies may not be involved but it will be more than worth the watch. If you're in the Ottawa area that weekend, tickets are only $20 each from

I suppose I can't get out of doing a recap without the play of the game, huh?