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Brampton Thunder split weekend series with Les Canadiennes

Howe stole the show this weekend for Brampton.

Jess Bazal | CWHL

The Thunder were back at it last weekend, playing two games against Les Canadiennes. They managed to split the series and remain in sole possession of second place in the standings.

Saturday, November 12th, 4-0 win

Boxscore | Full Game

Brampton managed to hand Montreal their second loss of the season in this one. Erica Howe had a gem of a start, posting a shutout against the most dynamic offense in the league. Don't let the final score fool you, though. If it weren't for Howe, Brampton probably would have lost this game.

After a goalless first period, the Thunder scored two in the second. Early in the second, Jamie Lee Rattray scored on a breakaway after slipping behind the Montreal defence and receiving a breakaway pass from Jess Jones. Jenna McParland scored their second goal of the period with a slapshot from the top of the circle.

In the third, Dania Simmonds scored on a high dump in, batting the puck out of mid-air and directing it past goalie Sydney Aveson. Now might be a good time to mention that starting goalie Charline Labonte sat out the weekend with a lower body injury, which is not good news for Montreal. She has a couple weeks to get healthy before Montreal's outdoor game at the Winter Classic. So, uh, don't panic, Montreal fans?

Anyway, back to this game: down three with eight minutes left, Montreal's head coach Dany Brunet decided to pull Aveson. Jones managed to score the empty net goal and seal it with a little over six minutes left. I saw a lot of criticism of this move (including by the announcers) but I didn't have a problem with it. It was a high risk, high reward move and Montreal's offense was buzzing all night (the shot count was tipped 39-21 in Montreal's favour).

Anyway, it didn't work out for Montreal this time around. Brampton actually did a pretty good job defending the 6-on-5. Montreal couldn't get very much sustained zone time in the 90 seconds before the empty netter.

Sunday, November 13th, 3-1 loss

Boxscore

Montreal's dynamic offense couldn't be stopped for long. Rebecca Vint opened the scoring for Brampton in the first period but after that, it was all Montreal. Karell Emard and Marie-Philip Poulin scored a couple power play goals in the first and Julie Chu scored the dagger late in the third.

A couple things of note in this one: Erica Howe got the start on the second half of the back-to-back, something that hasn't happened all season. I wonder if they'll continue riding the hot hand or if Brampton will go back to splitting the starts between Howe and Liz Knox.

The other thing: Brampton did a great job of staying out of the box on Saturday but couldn't stay disciplined on Sunday. They took ten penalties this game. You can't give a team like Montreal that many opportunities to score. It's something they've struggled with all season -- they've taken the most penalties in the league thus far with 69.

The shots were even more lopsided in this one, 43-19 in favour of Montreal. Howe kept them in the game for as long as she could but it wasn't enough. It's hard to win games when you have to depend on your goalie to post a shutout.

Final thoughts

  • Brampton's next game in January 2nd against Toronto at the Mastercard Centre in Etobicoke. If you're in the area, you should make it out. The Furies are hosting You Can Play night and the game will be broadcast on Sportsnet for all you out of towners.
  • CWHL All-Star voting is happening right now. You can cast a vote for a captain here. Natalie Spooner and Jamie Lee Rattray are currently in the lead. I don't want to stump for the enemy or anything but Poulin has 19 points in eight games.
  • Scheduling note: I know that my recaps have been hilariously late (they only played, uh, four days ago) but I'm finally done with the semester so they'll be more timely from now on. Well, ideally, at least. We'll see howe that goes. Also, Ben's out of commission so I'll be taking over Furies stuff until he heals up.