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Recapping the Unifor Women’s Hockey Showcase

Basic recaps of all 4 games. Box scores, really.

Team Knox and Team Poulin do battle in game three of the Unifor Women’s Showcase.
Team Knox and Team Poulin do battle in game three of the Unifor Women’s Showcase.
Shanna Martin-Book

So what did the four games look like?

One interesting quirk for this tournament was that a couple of teams had multiple instances of players with the same number. Team Jenner’s goalies, Shea Tiley and Amelia Boughn, both wore 30, Laura Fortino and Kelly Gribbons both wore 8 and Shannon Stewart and Alexis Woloschuk wore 10. On Team Knox we saw Catherine Daoust and Rachael Smith wearing 12 and Josiane Pozzebon and Carolyne Prévost wearing 27. The Team Jenner doubles were generally not on the ice together but Pozzebon and Prévost were on the same shift a number of time, as were Smith and Daoust, if less frequently.

Why did this happen? Well, it was basically a one-off tournament. To even up the numbers, the Montréal chapter of the PWHPA (Team Poulin) loaned Team Knox Pozzebon and Daoust, since Team Poulin would otherwise have extra players. They were rolling with three goalies as it was. Fortino was a late switch from Team Knox (GTA West) to Team Jenner (GTA East) and I suspect that Knox and Jenner will just continue to switch players around as needed throughout the year because well, why not?

The head scout for Team Canada, Melody Davidson, was in the house and taking notes which might have influenced a few decisions. For instance Annie Bélanger, who looked good in a limited role on the Calgary Inferno last season, stayed on the bench for both Team Jenner games in favour of recent Cornell grad Marlène Boissonault, who is on Team Canada’s radar, though she has not yet made the leap to the senior team. However, in general we saw teams giving players fairly even ice time and that was reflected in the scoring as well.

Unique as well to this tour was the addition of a “Budweiser goal of the game”. The player who scored the Budweiser goal of the game received a Budweiser goal light and the players had some fun skating around carrying the flashing light.

Team Jenner vs Team Johnston 4-3

For the first game of the tournament, there was plenty of fanfare. Gerry Dee and Tessa Bonhomme joined the fun as celebrity guest coaches for Johnston and Jenner respectively. Brianna Decker was also behind the bench for Team Johnston instead of on the ice.

The ceremonial puck drop involved a representative from title sponsor Unifor, along with Don Cherry, Ron MacLean and Tara Slone from Hockey Night in Canada and PWHPA Operations Consultant (and Hockey Hall of Famer) Jayna Hefford.

The North York Stars joined the teams on the bluelines to start the game and one of their players was also the flag skater.

Team Johnston was the “home” team in navy (it looked like black to me but I have been reliably informed that no, it was navy) and Team Jenner wore white.

The starters for Johnston were Rebecca Johnston (surprise!), Blayre Turnbull and Rebecca Leslie at forward, with Kacey Bellamy and Brigette Lacquette on defence and Marlène Boissoneault in goal. Team Jenner countered with Brianne Jenner, Jamie Lee Rattray and Jenna McParland up front, Laura Fortino and Jocelyne Larocque on the blueline and Shea Tiley in goal.

The game started with the stands about two-thirds full but late arrivals kept coming until the house was reasonably packed. There were still places to sit but there were also a lot of people standing.

Nicole Kosta, a veteran of both the CWHL’s Markham Thunder and the NWHL’s Connecticut Whale, opened the scoring, with an assist from long-time Thunder (and also WWHL vet) Becca King. 1-0 Team Jenner

Lacquette tied the game shortly afterwards, assisted by Turnbull and Johnston. 1-1

In the second period, Team Jenner was first to score again, this time Jenna McParland—who had quite the fanclub in the stands—from Rattray. 2-1 Team Jenner.

Erica Kromm answered back with help from Inferno teammates Rhianna Kurio and Kacey Bellamy. 2-2

Team Johnston got its first lead from a combination of players you would not have seen in the CWHL: Inferno 2018-19 rookie Kaitlin Willoughby from Furies 2018-19 rookie Julia Fedeski and a Toronto vet who last played in 2017-18, Brooke Beazer. 3-2 Team Johnston.

Merrimack College grad Katelyn Rae started the comeback for team Jenner in the third period, assisted by Jenner and CWHL 2018-19 rookie of the year Victoria Bach. 3-3.

McParland notched the game-winning goal, assisted by Colgate University grad Jessie Eldridge and Nicole Kosta. 4-3 Team Jenner

Penalties: Fortino (crosschecking), Kosta (tripping), Leslie (kneeing), Fedeski (hooking), Meaghan Mikkelson (body checking)

Budweiser goal of the game: Kaitlin Willoughby, Team Johnston

Tim Hortons Three Stars

3. Laura Fortino (Jenner)

2. Kacey Bellamy (Johnston)

1. Jenna McParland (Johnston)

Team Poulin vs Team Knox 2-1

While there wasn’t quite as much pizzaz for the beginning of game two, Brian Burke and a representative of the NHLPA dropped the puck for the ceremonial faceoff. Attendance for this game was more tightly packed and more raucous. While Team Knox had their supporters as the local team, the Montréal fans travel and they’re loud.

Amanda Makela started in goal for Team Knox (wearing white), with Renata Fast and Emma Grecco as her defenders and Anissa Gamble, Natalie Spooner and Sarah Nurse as the forwards.

Team Poulin, wearing navy, rolled a starting lineup that just looked like any Canadiennes game. Marie-Philip Poulin, Ann-Sophie Bettez and Mélodie Daoust up front, Erin Ambrose and Melanie Desrochers on the blue line and Emerance Maschmeyer in net.

Clarkson University graduate Loren Gabel went off for tripping late in the first, giving Team Poulin the first power play. Mélodie Daoust took advantage, with an assist from Poulin. 1-0 Team Poulin.

Carolyne Prévost tied it in the second period on Team Knox’s first power play, with assists from Spooner and Catherine Daoust.

A Marie-Philip Poulin goal was called back, with the ruling initially being that it was “off the foot” (a shot rebounded off her skate as she came to a stop in front of the goalie) but we were later informed the tournament was going by IIHF rules and her skate was in the blue paint.

Ann-Sophie Bettez scored the game winner with just under six minutes left, assisted by University of Wisconsin grad Emily Clark and Lauriane Rougeau. 2-1 Team Poulin.

Penalties: Gabel (tripping), Nurse, (tripping), Brault (tripping), Poulin (body checking), Poulin (cross checking)

Budweiser goal of the game: Carolyne Prévost (Team Knox)

Tim Hortons three stars

3. Erin Ambrose (Poulin)

2. Amanda Makela (Knox)

1. Ann-Sophie Bettez (Poulin)

Team Johnston vs Team Knox 6-5 (SO)

Sunday morning at 9:30 is not a normal time for elite hockey players to be starting a game, but that’s how the schedule worked out so there they were and, although it took a little bit of time, there also were the fans. The Furies and the Thunder both had trouble filling the stands on any given Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon, but the twelve rows of bench seating and standing room areas were well-populated for this game. The players were very pleased.

Ryerson Rams head coach and Team Canada veteran Vicky Sunohara was a guest coach for Team Knox for this one, and we were informed Gerry Dee had promoted himself from celebrity guest coach to just “coach” for Team Johnston. Knox wore navy for this match, with Johnston in white.

Women’s hockey pioneer Fran Rider was joined by Brianna Decker and Shannon Szabados for the ceremonial puck drop.

Amanda Makela was the starting (and indeed the only) goalie for Team Knox once more. Mellissa Channell and Catherine Daoust started on defence with Loren Gabel, Brittany Howard and Rachael Smith at forward.

Marlène Boissonault started her second game in goal. Her defenders were Katelyn Gosling and Meaghan Mikkelson, with Kaitlin Willoughby, Hanna Bunton and Hannah Miller up front.

Lotta goals in this one.

1-0 Team Knox, Josiane Pozzebon from Howard and Gabel.

1-1 Blayre Turnbull

2-1 Team Johnston, Bunton from Taylor Woods

3-1 Team Johnston, Brigette Lacquette

3-2 Natalie Spooner from Sarah Nurse

3-3 Howard from Smith (Howard was then sent to the box for goalie interference which was... either the goal should not have counted because of the penalty, or the goal counted, and play was dead by the time she touched the goalie. Instead, we got both, just to piss off everyone.)

4-3 Team Knox, Gabel from Howard and Daoust

5-3 Team Knox, Carolyne Prévost from Sydney Kidd and Jenna Dingeldein

5-4 Turnbull from Rebecca Johnston and Willoughby

Spooner missed an opportunity at an empty net goal and that was important because:

5-5 at 19:59 of the third period, Blayre Turnbull both got a hat trick and tied the game. Assists from Johnston and Miller

A five-minute 3 on 3, which turned into a 4 on 3 for Knox for a while after a tripping call on team Johnston, did not break the deadlock so it went to a best of three shootout.

Natalie Spooner x

Rebecca Johnston ✓

Loren Gabel x

Hanna Bunton x

Sarah Nurse x

Penalties: Miller (holding), Howard (goaltender interference), Mikkelson (delay of game), Lacquette (roughing) and Gabel (holding the stick) coincidental minors, Miller (tripping)

Budweiser goal of the game: Natalie Spooner (Team Knox)

Tim Horton three stars

3. Loren Gabel (Knox)

2. Rebecca Johnston (Johnston)

1. Blayre Turnbull (Johnston)

Team Poulin vs Team Jenner 5-1

I was a little late to the start of this game because I was interviewing Sarah Nurse so in terms of the starting lineups all I noted down was that both teams had changed up their goalies: Geneviève Lacasse for Team Poulin and Amelia Boughn for Team Jenner.

Mélodie Daoust got the puck right out front of Boughn on a lovely setup from Ann-Sophie Bettez and she’s almost always going to score from there. 1-0 Team Poulin

Laura Stacey scored an unassisted goal on the power play. 2-0 Team Poulin

Katelyn Rae started the scoring in the second period with her second of the tournament - goal per game is a pretty good pace for your first time playing against teams of this level. Assists from Victoria Bach and Jocelyn Larocque 2-1

Laura Stacey from Emily Clark. 3-1 Team Poulin

Mélodie Daoust from Marie-Philip Poulin and Ann-Sophie Bettez. 4-1 Team Poulin

Emily Clark scored a power play goal from Karell Emard to make it 5-1 Team .

Team Knox had a fairly lengthy 5 on 3 power play late in the third. Jessie Eldridge in particular was battling hard to score, but no luck.

Penalties: King, Larocque (roughing), Fortino (slashing), Poulin (slashing), Emard (body checking)

Budweiser goal of the game: Laura Stacey (team Poulin)

Tim Hortons three stars

3. Meghan Bozek (Jenner)

2. Marie-Philip Poulin (Poulin)

1. Mélodie Daoust (Poulin)