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Brampton Thunder rain on the Calgary Inferno, win two

The Thunder took on the league's best and came out of the weekend with four big points.

Jess Bazal | CWHL

The Thunder had a hell of a weekend.

Saturday, Jan. 9th--4-3 OT win

This was the non-streamed game of the weekend. Brampton got the lead half-way through the first on a goal from Candice Styles. Jill Saulnier and Jessica Cunningham scored two goals in the first half of the second for Calgary before the Kristin Richards and Rebecca Vint responded with goals of their own in the back half of the period, putting Brampton back on top.

Brigette Lacquette managed to tie it up in the third, sending the game to overtime. Syles would win it in OT. Laura Fortino had a good night, getting the assist on three of Brampton's four goals. Remember that for tomorrow.

Sunday, Jan. 10th--8-7 SO win

What a win this one was.

The Inferno got the lead early after Saulnier scored just 28 seconds in. Jenna McParland got one back mid-way through before Calgary added two more in the first. Saulnier added another goal 40 seconds into the second period. By the four minute mark of the second, it looked like the game was already over. Calgary had just gone up 5-1 on a PP goal from Brittany Esposito.

Brampton came roaring back just 30 seconds later, though. Jamie Lee Rattray had a partial break and beat goalie Delayne Brian with a nice forehand-backhand move. Defender Hayleigh Cudmore decided to defend the play by throwing her stick at Rattray, for some reason, which probably didn't help. Courtney Birchard scored with a bomb from the point just 20 seconds after that. Suddenly, the Thunder were right back in it, down just a pair of goals.

Well, they were down two goals until Elana Lovell made it 6-3 on a 2-on-1 rush. I thought the Brampton defender could have done a lot more to challenge Lovell on the play. She had a tonne of room streaking in on her off wing. In case you weren't following along, that was the fifth goal in the first six minutes of the second period.

They weren't done scoring there, either. Becca King scored a PP goal to bring Brampton back within two. Then, Rattray got another breakaway (against Cudmore, again) and shot it in low blocker side to make it 6-5 Brampton by the end of the second.

Just when it looked like the Thunder may complete the unlikely comeback, Lacquette, playing in just her second game of the season, scored for the Inferno. That was probably the third or fourth time I thought that the Thunder were finished, by the way.

Clearly I should have had more faith. Fortino scored twice in the last ten minutes of the game after the Calgary defence forgot she existed... twice.

Oy. Richards had a nice feed on the first goal and Fortino was able to walk right down below the hashmarks and fire it in. No one even bothers to challenge Fortino on her second goal. She had enough time to build a house before shooting, probably.

Anyway, after 65 minutes of very exciting hockey, the game went to a shootout. Boo. Rattray, the first star of the game, scored the only goal to give Brampton the win.

Other notes

  • Lacquette and Meaghan Mikkelson played their first two games of the season this weekend. The rich just get richer. Calgary is so ridiculously stacked, which makes these two wins even sweeter for Brampton. Mikkelson didn't look like she missed a beat, impressive given that she hasn't played high-level hockey since Sochi, as far as I can tell (first because of injury and later because she took time off to have a baby).
  • I feel like I probably could have substituted this recap with a picture of me doodling a bunch of hearts around Jamie Lee Rattray's name. She's so good. So, so good. Fortino's not half bad, either.
  • Brampton managed to stay disciplined this weekend, taking four penalties in each game.
  • Both starters got the yank on Sunday. Not the best weekend for goalies.