After the 7-3 loss in Sarnia, Amanda Makela came in as the starter against her former team and Sonja van der Bliek got the day off as a scratch. Despite what seems like an ever-shrinking number of defenders for Toronto, Sydney Kidd started the game as a forward alongside Danielle Gagné and Cassidy Delainey. Catherine Herron started in net for Montréal and Erin Ambrose was on the starting blueline and it was tragical.
Coach Flanagan continued with his new line of Carolyne Prévost, Brittany Zuback and Emily Fulton and it paid off in the first period. Their first shift produced a goal two minutes in, a quick backhand from the side of the net by Zuback to put the Furies up 1-0. With the assist Prévost hit 92 points in her CWHL career, just passing Natalie Spooner for active career points leader on the team.
Play moved fairly evenly between zones. Despite some physicality (to be expected between these two teams) the refs kept their whistles quiet until the halfway mark when Ella Stewart and Noémie Marin got into a scuffle. They were sent off for roughing and cross-checking respectively and we got some 4 on 4 hockey.
Prévost got a chance but hit the side of the net. Then, exactly one second back into even strength, Fulton, Zuback and Katie Gaskin combined to bang the puck in and make it 2-0.
The last five minutes of the period got a bit too exciting. First off one of the Canadiennes went absolutely flying, but there was no call on the play. (I didn’t have a good angle to see what actually happened but she was airborne. There was an arc.) About 30 seconds later, Cassidy Delainey was called for elbowing, sending the Furies on the kill. Then, with 38 seconds left in the Delainey penalty, Jenna Dingeldein went off for a hook. Down 5 on 3 against Montréal is not my favourite thing to watch.
Fortunately, when Delainey got out of the box, she also got the puck into the offensive zone, and the Furies spent the rest of that penalty in a much more entertaining manner.
According to the game sheet, shots for the period were only 8 - 4. I am guessing that the shot attempts were higher by quite a bit.
Considering she gave up two goals on four shots, it wasn’t much of a surprise that Herron was pulled in favour of Emerance Maschmeyer to start the second.
If the first period had some physical play, the second was where things Got Real. Gagné started things off with a bodycheck in the first 30 seconds of the period. Penalties went as follows:
0:22 TOR Danielle Gagné, Body Checking
07:45 MTL Cathy Chartrand, Cross Checking
08:20 MTL Katia Clement-Heydra, Tripping
Shortly after the call on Heydra for tripping, Ann-Sophie Bettez barrelled into Michelle Saunders, who went down hard flat on her back. Saunders got off the ice under her own power, and was back on the ice later in the period. It wasn’t immediately clear after play resumed whether or not there had been a call on the play, but apparently the officials deemed it an accident.
About 30 seconds after this incident Shannon Moulson sent a pass over to Carlee Campbell, who found Fulton for the one-timer. Fulton’s second goal of the game, and the Furies were up 3-0, quite the rarity this season!
They didn’t get anything else on the remaining 5 on 4 play and shortly thereafter the parade to the penalty box resumed.
10:45 TOR Hayley Williams, Unsportsmanlike Conduct
12:10 TOR Jenna Dingeldein, Roughing
Power play goal for Montréal by Kayla Tutino. Makela was occupied on one side of her net by Karell Emard, who got the assist, and Tutino had a lot of room to bang it in on the other side.
14:09 TOR Michelle Saunders, Body Checking
Because what you need after the opposition has just scored a power play goal is to give them another power play. And sure enough, they scored another goal. Marin from Clement-Heydra and Bettez 3-2.
15:25 MTL Sarah Lefort, Unsportsmanlike Conduct (This one was called in the arena as Mélodie Daoust which would be quite the feat, seeing as Daoust is in Calgary with the Olympic team)
So, a parade of penalties and a corresponding cascade of complaints. Frankly, if the refs had been calling everything they could have, the game would have been approximately 50 minutes of 3 on 3 hockey during this game, so I didn’t have much patience with the “why me?” from either side.
Zuback ended the period with a promising chance on Maschmeyer, but lost control and took out the net instead.
Shots were 10-7 for Montréal, which, considering the amount of power play time they had either reflects badly on the Canadiennes offense or well on the Furies defence. This game was such a mess I’m not committing to either.
The Furies began the period on a power play (Tutino, roughing) and ended it on a power play (Lefort, tripping). They themselves stayed out of the box, which was fortunate because they needed all hands on deck.
The first power play didn’t go very well, with most of the play happening in the Furies zone and more than one shorthanded chance for Montreal. Tutino also got herself a shot on goal when she came out of the box.
Dingeldein and Zuback were the offensive threats for the Furies this period, but most of the work was by the defense and Makela in goal. Zuback had a great sequence with about four minutes left where she muscled her way through most of the Canadiennes and down the ice but couldn’t seal the deal. She also missed an empty-netter that would have been very helpful for my nerves.
The final penalty to Montreal was very likely their undoing. They’d already pulled Maschmeyer and this meant not only a faceoff in their own zone but that once they (somewhat inevitably) gained the Furies zone, pulling the goalie again simply meant having an even number of skaters instead of any kind of advantage. Makela and the Furies fought them off, and finally made three goals against the Canadiennes count for a win.
3. Amanda Makela, Toronto Furies (28 saves, first CWHL win) 3 sta r s 3 34 Makela
2. Brittany Zuback, Toronto Furies (1G, 1 A)
1. Emily Fulton, Toronto Furies (2G)
Amanda Makela’s first CWHL win! I thought that should have been enough for first star, but they only gave her third. It might be my goalie bias but I feel like the coaching staff hasn’t handed out enough stars to their hard-working goalies this season.
Milestones I missed: Jess Vella’s 100th game was Jan 7 against Boston, Michelle Saunders’ 50th game was Jan 13 against Kunlun. With only 7 games left in the season, Katie Gaskin is the only player who might hit a milestone by the end of the season. She’s 4 games from 50 but she’s also had a demanding schedule in the past so we’ll see if she makes it.
The Toronto Furies take on the Calgary Inferno at the Mastercard Centre next weekend. Tickets are available here or you can watch Sunday’s game live on Sportsnet at 1:00 pm EST.