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Recap: Markham Thunder shut out Kunlun Red Star 3-0

Erica Howe’s second shutout moves Markham to the top of the standings.

Helmets of the Markham Thunder sit on the bench with the green-and-white painted goalie helmets closest to the camera Teri Di-Lauro - CWHL

For today’s rematch the Thunder were selling t-shirts in memory of starting goalie Erica Howe’s father, Peter Howe, to raise money for the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

Markham announced three scratches for the game, Nicole Kosta, Laura McIntosh and Fielding Montgomery, leaving them with 17 players dressed. With three forwards out, defender Megan Delay moved up to forward. This is going to be an ongoing problem for them until after the Olympics, so we’re keeping an eye on the situation.

First period

Markham got on the board much faster than they did in Saturday’s game, scoring twice in the first three minutes. Jamie Lee Rattray must have shared some secrets of solving Noora Räty with her teammates because it was Taylor Woods who struck first, assisted by Devon Skeats and Karolina Urban. Although this is Woods’ second season with the Thunder it was her first CWHL goal. The Thunder will need players like her to step up this season if they don’t want Rattray burning out.

Rattray had the second goal, assisted by Kristen Richards.

Jessica Hartwick got herself in penalty trouble twice in quick succession, once for roughing and, two minutes after she got out of the box, another for hooking. The Thunder killed both off.

Red Star got into some trouble of their own in the back half of the period. Stephanie Anderson was called for hooking and then the ever-dangerous Kelli Stack went off for interference. The Thunder weren’t able to capitalize and Hartwick took another hooking call with 1:16 left in the period. Anderson kindly joined her with 30s to go, so the period ended 4 on 4.

Kunlun outshot Markham 21 to 11 in the period but Howe seemed to be up to the challenge.

Second period

Second period was delayed briefly as there was an ice issue. Eventually everything was set to rights, and Jamie Lee Rattray scored to start the period, because why not.

Red Star had the only penalties of the period, bodychecking to Melanie Jue and roughing to Stack. Markham was unable to capitalize on either of the power plays.

Stack finished the period in the box after a last-minute call for cross-checking. After their play against the Furies last weekend, it’s nice to see that Markham wasn’t answering the physical play with more penalties of their own.

A few good chances for both the Thunder and Red Star but fewer shots on the board, 12 to 10 for Kunlun.

Third period

The Thunder were buzzing to start the period, thanks in no small part to a 90s power play, but Räty managed not to repeat her slow start from the previous two periods.

Skeats in particular was up on net, both with scoring chances and some words for Räty after the whistle.

Red Star defender Lu Wen was injured late in the third. She was helped off the ice by the trainer but stayed on the bench.

Shiann Darkangelo (slashing) got into it with Karolina Urban (roughing) with less than three minutes to go, leading to some more 4 on 4 hockey. After both teams survived that they tried it again as Alexis Woloschuk (slashing) and Stephanie Anderson (roughing) were given coincidental minors with 57 seconds left in the game.

What did I say about the Thunder not retaliating? It’s a learning process. Still, no harm done as Erica Howe recorded her second consecutive shutout this season, making 45 saves to Noora Räty’s 35.

Three stars

3. Lindsay Grigg

2. Jamie Lee Rattray (2G)

1. Erica Howe (45 saves)

The Markham Thunder host les Canadiennes de Montréal next weekend, October 28-29.