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CWHL Recap: Furies take a beating, Thunder steal a point

Three Toronto goals and a 43 save performance from Markham goalie Liz Knox were not enough for wins tonight.

Carolyne Prevost (27) of the Toronto Furies attempts to take the puck from Montréal Canadiennes captain Ann-Sophie Bettez (24) Chris Tanouye/CWHL

Toronto Furies vs Canadiennes de Montréal 3-7

This game was a homecoming for Carolyne Prévost and Jessica Platt as the Furies took on the Canadiennes in Sarnia, Ontario as part of the Hockey Day In Canada festivities. (This means I chose not to attend the game. My commute to Etobicoke is long enough I wasn’t going to do it in time to catch a bus to Sarnia in time for an afternoon game.)

Jenna Dingeldein opened the scoring less than a minute into the game, her fifth of the season, unassisted. That was the good news.

Montréal put up four goals on 16 shots against Sonja van der Bliek in the first period, one of them a shorthanded marker by Ann-Sophie Bettez, assisted by former Fury Erin Ambrose.

Coach Jeff Flanagan put Sami Jo Small in net for the second period and at first she didn’t fare much better, giving up three goals in the first four and a half minutes. She also gave up a point to a former Fury, Jordanna Peroff, who assisted on the seventh goal by Erinn Noseworthy. However, things settled down after that and she ended the game with a save percentage of 0.897, or three goals on 29 shots.

The Furies eventually got two back in the third, with a first career CWHL goal for defender Sydney Kidd, with an assist from fellow rookie Alessandra Bianchi, Bianchi’s first CWHL point. (What do you do with the puck in a situation like that? Get out the hacksaw?)

Jessica Platt followed that up with a goal in front of her hometown crowd, assisted by Ella Stewart and Cassidy Delainey.

Of the four games they’ve played against the Canadiennes this season, this is the third in which the Furies have scored three goals. The problem is that in all four games so far they have never given up fewer than seven. Hopefully they can stem the tide in tomorrow’s final meet up of the season.

It’s not great that top scorers Prévost, Emily Fulton and Hayley Williams were kept off the board. However, aside from Dingeldein, all the Furies with points started the game with three or less on the season, so perhaps that’s a good sign.

Related, Brittany Zuback was subbed into the starting line instead of Williams, which is interesting because the combination of Prévost, Williams and Fulton had five goals over the last three games.

Brooke Beazer, Jessica O’Grady and Amanda Makela were the scratches for the Furies. Beazer’s absence from defence was almost certainly an issue.

Three stars

3. Cassandra Poudrier, les Canadiennes de Montréal, (2A)

2. Noémie Marin, les Canadiennes de Montréal, (2G)

1. Ann-Sophie Bettez, les Canadiennes de Montréal, (2G, 1A)

Markham Thunder vs Kunlun Red Star 2-3 (OT)

Liz Knox was the starting goalie for the Thunder — not unexpected as the game was a fundraiser in support of Alzheimer’s research and Knox has a personal connection there. What was unexpected was a rare sighting of third goalie Jamie Miller as backup. The Canadian Olympic team has a game in Alberta on Sunday and Erica Howe is an alternate...is this further worrying news for Hockey Canada?

The other scratches for the game were Megan Delay and Alexis Woloschuk. Woloschuk hasn’t been in the lineup yet this calendar year.

As with the Toronto game, the scoring started in the first minute of the game. Unfortunately for Markham, the goal was for the other team. Kelli Stack scored from Zoe Hickel and Jessica Wong, just 23 seconds in. 1-0

Three minutes after that, Stack and Hickel combined for another, this time with an assist from Alex Carpenter. The rookie has started her CWHL career on a three-game point streak. 2-0 Red Star.

Wisely, the Thunder called a timeout at this point in the game. It seemed to do some good, as Jenna McParland scored her fourth of the season about 30 seconds later. 2-1 For some reason, all four of McParland’s goals have come against Chinese teams — her other three were a hat trick last weekend against the Vanke Rays. Maybe she’s just gotten some extra energy after being off with an injury since early November.

The two teams combined for 31 shots in the second period (and a tripping penalty to Devon Skeats) but the score stayed frozen until early in the third. Jamie Lee Rattray was the hero one more time for the Thunder, tying the game at 2-2 with an assist from Laura McIntosh.

Knox and Noora Räty kept everything else out of their nets and the game went to overtime. According to the shot clock, Kunlun dominated the overtime period, with six shots to Markham’s one. Sure enough, Jessica Wong won the game for the Red Star with 37 seconds left in overtime. Once again, assists came from Hickel and Stack.

With Markham still in the playoff hunt and their closest competition, the Vanke Rays, going down hard to Calgary tonight, the extra point will at least keep their hopes alive.

Three stars

3. Jessica Wong, Kunlun Red Star (1G, 1A)

2. Liz Knox, Markham Thunder (31 saves)

1. Kelli Stack, Kunlun Red Star (2G, 1A)

The Furies and Canadiennes go again tomorrow back at the MCC at 1:00 pm and if you can’t be there in person you can watch it live on the CWHL website. The Thunder have tomorrow off, their next game will be at home against Toronto on February 3rd, tickets are available here, or you can watch the game on Sportsnet!