Today’s game was an outreach game held at the Garnett B. Rickard arena in Clarington, ON. There was no live feed due to the location of the event.
There was no change in the starting lineup from yesterday — obviously coach thought that they were doing something right — Nicole Brown, Jess Jones, Nicole Kosta, Megan Bozek and Laura Fortino. The only difference was Erica Howe on the bench and Liz Knox taking her usual Sunday spot in net. Alexis Woloschuk was listed as the only scratch again.
There was also no change to the Canadiennes starting lineup other than their goalie; they again went with Ann-Sophie Bettez, Jill Saulnier, Marie-Philip Poulin, Erin Ambrose and Melanie Desrochers. Geneviève Lacasse started in net and Emerance Maschmeyer was on the bench holding the door open for her teammates.
If there’s one thing we know about les Canadiennes, it’s that they do not like to lose. Les Canadiennes fans are buzzing that their team will be coming back with a vengeance and they are right. It doesn’t take long for them to score a goal. Karell Émard receives a pass from Katia Clément-Heydra and puts one through Knox’s five hole.
Not even two minutes later, Saulnier takes a pass from Bettez and puts one in to the top of Knox’s net. Poulin is credited with the secondary assist. That’s two goals in just over five minutes of play.
Immediately after the second goal, the Thunder call a timeout. I guess yesterday’s lineups aren’t working anymore.
At the 13:51 mark, there is literally a pileup in front of the Thunder net as the players are trying to stop the puck from going in. The net comes off its moorings in the process, but the puck slips in. It’s called no-goal because the net was off.
About eight minutes in Émard gets a holding call even though it was a really obvious shove on the ice. Les Canadiennes not only kill off that penalty, but the majority of the play happens in front of the Thunder net, with Saulnier getting a good shot at the net.
With seven minutes left on the clock, Poulin goes into the box for high sticking. That penalty gets killed off as well.
At the end of the first period shots on goal were 8 for the Thunder and 12 for les Canadiennes.
Less than two minutes into the period the whistle is blown, the trainer comes out and Laura Stacey is escorted off the ice.
Shortly afterwards, Saulnier passes to Bettez who in turn passes it to Poulin’s stick. And because she is Poulin, she deflects the puck into the net with her stick static, down on the ice without having to move it at all. 3-0 for Montréal.
Bettez takes a shot at Knox, but Knox saves the shot. The puck rebounds and is hovering around the net. The Thunder defense fails to clear it, and Poulin manages to get her stick on it. She passes it to Saulnier who pops it into the open side of the net. All this took place in a matter of milliseconds, shorter than the time it probably took you to read this paragraph, and it’s 4-0.
At a whistle with 10:57 left on the clock, Knox is pulled and Howe goes into the net in her place. Let’s hope she has the same amount of focus she had last night and the Thunder is able to connect with the Canadiennes net.
Shots on goal at the end of the second period were 10 for the Thunder and 10 for Les Canadiennes.
The moment Hilary Knight gets on the ice, she immediately takes a pass and makes a breakaway for the Thunder net. She gets a good shot in but Howe saves it.
Victoria Bach goes into the box for an interference call. The Thunder kill off that penalty.
After Bach comes out of the box, the Thunder make their way into the Canadiennes half. Bach looks like she is trying a breakaway shot but dangles the puck a few times, confusing Lacasse. Lacasse is in the way to stop the shot but Bach passes it to Laura Stacey, who is waiting on the glove side. Lacasse doesn’t fully get her glove on the puck and the puck is loose as she falls to the side to save it. Stacey punts the loose puck over Lacasse and into the net. The Thunder are finally on the board, 4-1.
At about the nine minute mark, the Canadiennes are literally passing the puck in a circle for two whole minutes around the Thunder net, not taking a shot. Saulnier attempts a shot after playing around with the net, the Thunder defense seems to be sick of challenging it, and Howe has momentarily lost focus on the puck. Saulnier tips it in over Howe’s shoulder. Desrochers is credited with the assist. Saulnier has her hattrick.
Not to be outdone, the puck finds its way to les Canadiennes net. Jocelyne Larocque passes it to Jamie Lee Rattray who passes it to Bach. Bach gets her stick on the puck as Lacasse is sliding over to save it, but Bach is too fast for her as she slides it under her pads right as she is dropping down for the save, 5-2.
Saulnier gets her fourth goal of the game in the last minute with an assist from Bettez and Poulin. It was confusing as to how the puck went in, but it wasn’t surprising since it came from that top line.
Final score is 2 for the Thunder and 6 for les Canadiennes. Shots on goal at the end of the final period were 8 for the Thunder and 17 for les Canadiennes. Total shots on goal were 26 for the Thunder and 39 for les Canadiennes.
3. Victoria Bach, Markham Thunder (1 goal, 1 assist, 2 penalty minutes)
2. Marie-Philip Poulin, Les Canadiennes de Montréal (1 goal, 3 assists)
1. Jill Saulnier, Les Canadiennes de Montréal (4 goals, 1 assist)
It has been a while since I’ve seen Lacasse live in the net but she is able to track the puck extremely well and make quick moves from one end of the net to the other. I guess that time off, even though it was due to injury, has done her good. There was no feed for this game, but she did things like this:
Bozek with a blast that’s tipped by Stacey. Lacasse swipes it out of the air— Markham Thunder 🌩 (@ThunderCWHL) January 27, 2019
Hilary Knight hasn’t really had much impact lately. But just watching her yesterday and today, she seems to have a “stalk and pass” strategy on the ice. She doesn’t go chasing the puck, and doesn’t have the speed that Poulin’s line has.
Les Canadiennes remind me of the Toronto Furies. A superstar first line that does the majority of the scoring, with other lines not being able to do very much other than keep the puck in. Unlike the Furies, there is still some depth to their second line of Knight, Clément-Heydra and Sarah Lefort. I wonder if there are statistics as to which line goals against les Canadiennes are scored on.
Everyone’s on the road for the next few games. The Thunder are back in action next weekend in Worcester against the Blades, while the Furies are in Shenzhen facing the Rays this week. We’ll have a recap of the China trip up on Saturday. Tickets for the Blades games are available here and for games in China here. The officially filmed game of the week will be Saturday’s Furies-Rays game.