Despite the abysmal score the first half of this game was full of good things from the Furies.
This marks the first time in the season that a Furies goalie has started for a full series. In front of Shea Tiley the Furies started Megan Quinn and Mellissa Channell on defence and a line of Sarah Nurse, Natalie Spooner and Mackenzie MacNeil up front.
First period (Game Summary)
The first period started out mostly in the Furies zone, although Toronto was good at sticking to their assignments and keeping the Canadiennes to the outside. Mellissa Channell in particular was plastered all over Marie-Philip Poulin, which is a hell of an assignment to give a rookie.
Sarah Nurse was called for tripping about 90 seconds in. Tiley had to make a few saves, including one on a seeing-eye shot by Erin Ambrose but her teammates managed to get the puck out of the zone a few times to keep the pressure off her. Prévost got the puck out at the end of the kill, so 5 on 5 play resumed in the Canadiennes zone.
Early on the team looked fast and organized, aware of other teammates on the ice and trying their best to get something going.
The first goal of the game came at 5:47 in the first period. Tiley was down on the ice and I thought she had the puck but then Montréal started celebrating — it must have just squeaked through. Mélodie Daoust got the goal, with assists from Ambrose and Ann-Sophie Bettez.
The Furies responded well, gaining the offensive zone right off the faceoff, and Nurse got off a wicked looking shot that might have been saved by Maschmeyer, might have hit the post.
Although the team continued to be good at keeping the Canadiennes to the outside, they themselves were also having trouble centring the puck for shots. Players would end up below the goal line with too many defenders between them and the player they wanted to set up, or with no one in front at all.
There were some quick whistles in yesterday’s game and that carried over to today’s game. About halfway through the first Knight was causing trouble in front of the net. Tiley went down to try and cover the puck and the whistle went... except Tiley clearly didn’t have the puck.
As the period wore on the Furies had a little trouble entering the Canadiennes zone. There were a few offside and icing calls before they managed to get a solid opportunity again. Generally play throughout the game was pretty north-south, with only one or two times that either team got pinned down in their own zone.
With about four minutes left in the period Maschmeyer let out a very juicy rebound, the puck just sitting right out in front of her. It created a scramble as a few Furies tried to poke the puck in past her pads. One or two Furies seemed to celebrate a goal, but it was called off. She did it again about two minutes later but there wasn’t anyone around to take advantage the second time.
Lauriane Rougeau was called for interference with just over a minute left in the period, but the Canadiennes just would not let the Furies into their zone to take advantage.
Montréal outshot Toronto to the tune of 13-6 in the period.
With the remains of the Daoust penalty, the Furies pressed their advantage, starting play in the offensive zone and keeping it there until seven seconds were left. The Canadiennes cleared the puck with a hard shot right down the ice.
The pace picked up again in the second and Toronto kept up. There wasn’t the desperate chasing we saw in the series against the Rays. Sometimes they were behind, but only a step or two, and there were plenty of occasions where a Furies player stole the puck from a Canadienne.
Montréal worked hard for their second goal, which came at the 4:14 mark. I’m going to disagree with the official scorer, who gave the goal to Katia Clément-Heydra. She did a lot to create the goal, bringing the puck into the Furies zone under pressure with Hilary Knight off to the left. At the last second though, she sent a pass across the crease to Knight, who was the one to flip the puck in behind Tiley while she was still committed to a shot from the other side. Catherine Daoust was credited with the secondary assist, her first CWHL point.
Unlike the first goal, which fired the Furies up, this one seemed to encourage the Canadiennes who just came right back for more on the next shift. Things went back and for a minute or two, Maschmeyer making a couple of stops in her end, before Montréal hemmed Toronto into their own zone for a good two and a half minutes. The best attempt at getting it out came from Prévost, who iced the puck trying to hit Brittany Howard.
The third goal seemed sort of inevitable. Like the second, the Canadiennes carried the puck in on one side and shot from the other, this time with a couple of Furies screening Tiley just to make it harder. But when Marie-Philip Poulin is bearing down on a goalie is she really paying attention to Ann-Sophie Bettez on the other side? This is the dilemma of facing Montréal. Bettez got the goal, with assists to Poulin and Mélodie Daoust.
Toronto got the puck out for a few seconds, Shiann Darkangelo forced Maschmeyer to make a save, but the third goal had only just been announced when the puck was behind Tiley for a fourth time. The wheels were starting to come off for Toronto. Shea Tiley is a tall goalie so when I say that this, and the next three goals, all went in over her shoulder, there might possibly be an issue. The shot came from a few feet out, low near the goal line, and flew diagonally up across Tiley’s body and over her shoulder top corner. This was was Clément-Heydra from Saulnier and Knight.
The Furies called a timeout right after the goal and I thought maybe we’d see Elaine Chuli at that point, but Tiley stayed in for the rest of the game.
The line they put out for the next faceoff was Darkangelo, Brittany Zuback and Mackenzie MacNeil. I’m not sure what head coach Courtney Kessel was trying to accomplish there, but it didn’t work. Tiley was kept busy for the next few minutes, with the next real offensive zone time coming almost three minutes after the goal.
Maschmeyer was up to whatever the Furies threw at her, and it seemed like every time she made a save the puck headed back to the other end of the ice.
Brittany Howard ran into Sophie Brault in the neutral zone. Howard went down, Brault stayed up, and Brault was called for a bodycheck. (This is a fairly common occurrence in CWHL hockey. Sure, the first player was trying to occupy space the other player was already in, but the first player hit the ice, so she must have been the victim.) It was not a particularly notable power play, with the Furies having to reset a couple of times. Renata Fast had a shot attempt that looked like it might be something but it went high.
The final minute of the period the Canadiennes were basically running the Furies show.
Shots were 15 to 6 in favour of Montréal.
Play started in the Furies zone but things had settled back into north-south play again, with both teams gaining the offensive zone but exiting without getting a shot off.
Poulin had an opportunity early on but she passed instead of shot and the play fizzled.
The Furies tried several different ways to get into the Montréal zone, but couldn’t stay once they were in.
One of the better Furies chances was Spooner setting up Nurse with a drop pass, but Nurse’s shot went just wide, banging hard off the glass.
Near the halfway mark, a save by Tiley resulted in a flurry of chances at the other end. Things only really calmed down when Mélodie Daoust went off for interference. Not much came of the power play.
MacNeil found herself with a breakaway with 8:25 left to go in the period but she couldn’t beat Maschmeyer.
The fifth goal looked pretty much identical to the fourth. Tracy-Ann Lavigne got her first of the season, assisted by Rougeau and Ambrose. The fifth goal was still being announced when the sixth went in, Olivia Atkinson with her first CWHL goal, assisted by Geneviève Bannon and Tracy-Ann Lavigne. Again, rising shot from off to one side that went across and over Tiley’s shoulder, top corner.
Zuback forced Maschmeyer to make a save.
With four minutes left in the game Renata Fast was called for holding — she’d been harrassing Bettez for a good while. It took Taylor Willard 40 seconds to score her first CWHL goal, this one assisted by Clément-Heydra. Again, something from below or almost below the goal line came up and over and... this is a recording.
To the Furies credit they pressed on to the end, desperate to get a goal. Nurse set up MacNeil, giving her what looked like half the net to shoot on, but her backhand missed. Spooner got a shot off with 43 seconds left. And Prévost came in at literally the last second, but was turned away.
Total shots for the game were 40 to 17 in favour of the Canadiennes.
Clearly the Furies have some work to do, and most of them will have time to do so as they won’t have another game til after 4 Nations Cup.
- A Fury collided with one of the officials in the first period but play didn’t stop — I guess the official was only a little squished?
- No idea what was contributing to this but Renata Fast seemed to be the Furies player who was icing the puck the most.
- I noticed during one of her forays across the neutral zone that the Furies are a lot nicer to Hilary Knight than Team Canada usually is when she plays internationally. Poulin often had a player right on her heels, Knight less so.
- This was also a milestone game for a couple of Canadiennes — Poulin’s 75th game with the team, Maschmeyer’s 10th shutout and Bettez takes over the Iron Woman record from Dania Simmonds as she hit 150 consecutive games played. (Bettez is currently also second among active players for total games played but she’s 100 behind Moulson.)/
3 Emerance Maschmeyer (17 save shutout)
2 Mélodie Daoust (1 goal, 1 assist, 1 minor penalty)
1 Katia Clément-Heydra (2 goals, 1 assist)
Next up for some of the Furies (and Canadiennes) is the 4 Nations Cup, which takes place in Saskatoon from November 6-10. Team Canada has a friendly against Team Finland on November 4th to kick things off.
The Furies next series will be November 17 - 18, when they host the Calgary Inferno. Tickets are available online.