After earning herself Goalie of the Week honours, Amanda Makela was back in net for the Furies tonight. For her second consecutive start she kept the opposing team to two goals and was an essential part of tonight’s win.
The Furies started off with the same forward line as they did last Sunday, Sydney Kidd up from defender to centre, with Danielle Gagné and Cassidy Delainey on either wing. I’m not going to knock what seems to be working, but I will say if Kidd is going to stay a centre she’s going to need some more work on the faceoff dot. Brooke Beazer and Ella Stewart were the starting blueliners.
Although Delayne Brian made a triumphant return from injury last Saturday against the Vanke Rays, she doesn’t seem to have made the trip to Toronto, as the Inferno went with Lindsey Post in net and Toni Ross as backup. Post, who won the U Sports women’s hockey championship last season with the University of Alberta Pandas, has been Calgary’s starter for the majority of the season.
While the game started off at a decent clip it wasn’t quite as fast as I’d expected, especially from Calgary. Toronto got some early chances, notably Jenna Dingeldein and Carolyne Prévost attempting to make something happen together. There was a fair bit of open ice, resulting in plenty of Furies passes intercepted by Inferno players. There were a few pucks stolen by Toronto as well.
The only penalties of the period came at 5:40 when Ella Stewart (roughing) and Iya Gavrilova (holding the stick) were called for coincidental minors. The resulting 4 on 4 produced a lovely steal by Prévost and a couple of shots on Post (goalie! named Post! — I cannot imagine how tired she is of this sort of comment) but no scoring.
The lone goal of the period was scored by Rhianna Kurio of the Inferno at just about the halfway mark. In one of the few times the Furies got pinned down in their own zone, there were a bunch of players in front of Makela, multiple rebounds happening and a shot just made it through the scramble. 1-0 Calgary. Erica Kromm and Elana Lovell were credited with the assists.
Other than the goal (and getting outshot 11 to six) it was a good period for the Furies. It was clear they had a plan of attack, they were just having some difficulty executing, mostly due to Calgary’s speed. One thing that worried me was that the Inferno seemed to speed up near the end of the period.
Sure enough, Calgary came out of the gate much more quickly in the second period. Makela needed to make a few saves at close range early on. Also worrying was that the trainer had to come out and chat with her less than three minutes into the period. I didn’t see what happened but Makela spent a fair bit of time on one knee before eventually pushing herself up and going for a short skate. She elected to stay in and the game continued.
Less than a minute later, Dakota Woodworth was called for the first of three Inferno penalties in the period — this time for roughing. The Furies started the power play decently enough but once the Inferno got the puck out of the zone for the first time Toronto never really got another solid zone entry going.
Makela and her defense had some work to do back at even strength, but it didn’t take long for Jenna Dingeldein to tie the game. For a moment it looked like Post had managed to make a save on the hard angled shot, but the puck squeaked through and it was 1-1. Jess Vella got the assist.
Unfortunately this lasted just less than two minutes. If you’ll forgive the pun, Calgary turned up the heat immediately, coming on strong and putting a ton of pressure on the Furies. The second Inferno goal was another case of many bodies in front of the net. Makela stopped the first shot and at least one other rebound but neither she nor her defenders managed to clear the crease, and she had trouble getting back up. She made a valiant diving effort on Laura Dostaler’s shot but it went just over her glove and in. 2-1 for the Inferno.
As the period neared its final quarter, the Furies got their fourth power play of the night courtesy of an interference call on Calgary defender Katelyn Gosling. It took them exactly nine seconds to capitalize. Hayley Williams and Jenna Dingeldein combined to get the puck to Vella, who put it home. 2-2
One of a couple (but, to be clear, only a couple) of questionable uncalled plays happened shortly after the tying goal - Williams went flying through the air but apparently she launched herself because nothing was called.
Both teams had some late chances but the score stayed tied to end the second. Despite being on the kill three times in the period, the Inferno outshot the Furies 18 to seven.
The Furies and the Inferno both started the period with some urgency. Brittany Zuback had an early chance but this was followed by another of the rare times when Toronto had issues getting the puck out of their own zone, or at least past the red line.
Then, the tide turned. Dostaler was sent off for a hook and less than 30 seconds later she was joined by Jacquie Pierri, who was called for roughing. 29 seconds after that, Michelle Saunders fired what was either a hard pass or a shot that went slightly wide over to Dingeldein, who sent a beautiful cross-crease pass to Williams for the goal. It took 46:39 of play and a 5 on 3 but the Furies had their first lead of the night. 3-2
The other minute and a half of the Pierri power play was pretty much a wash - Toronto had a hard time getting back into the Calgary zone after that. Back at even strength they still gave Post some work to do.
The Furies were called for a couple of penalties, which was a little stressful. During the first one on Shannon Moulson (body checking), I saw something that was a first for me. One of the Inferno (I think Louise Warren), broke her stick on a play. I’ve seen players lose sticks and gloves but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a CWHL player have to drop her stick because it’s snapped in half. Fortunately that was the only particularly notable thing that happened during that kill.
On both kills, the Furies got the puck out of their own zone a few times. On the second kill they even got a couple of weak shorthanded chances courtesy of Prévost and Dingeldein.
As the clock wound down, although Toronto wasn’t getting a lot of shots on net or even sustained zone time, they were getting the puck into the Inferno zone just often enough to keep Lindsey Post from leaving her net. Calgary didn’t help themselves by getting caught offside with ninety-eight seconds to go.
Post headed out with just over a minute left in the game. Zuback had a chance but she had a Calgary defender in front of her all the way and couldn’t elevate the puck enough to seal the game.
To add insult to injury, the Inferno were not only called for too many players with forty-five seconds to go, there was a late offside call against them with twenty-two seconds left that was ultimately deemed to be incorrect.
In the end, the Furies did what they set out to do, holding shots almost even in the period (7-6 in favour of Calgary) and clinching the upset!
3. Amanda Makela, Toronto Furies (34 saves)
2. Jess Vella, Toronto Furies (1G, 1A)
1. Jenna Dingeldein, Toronto Furies (1G, 2A)
The Furies only scratches were the usual suspects of Jessica O’Grady (who is in fact injured, I wasn’t quite sure) and Sami Jo Small. Along with Brian, Hayleigh Cudmore was the other scratch for the Inferno.
As mentioned, Iya Gavrilova was in the lineup for Calgary. She was a surprise snub from the Olympic Athletes from Russia team earlier this week. As far as we understand it she has not been banned but was not on the list of athletes invited to compete.
Michelle Saunders went down hard in one corner about halfway through the second, and looked to be favouring her knee. Jacquie Pierri got the hook for boarding. Saunders was back on the ice not long afterwards, but she’s taken a few blows lately and I worry that with this one, as with the collision with Bettez last week, she came back too soon.
The Inferno player that impressed me the most was rookie defender Kelly Murray. She has a heck of a hard shot and if there was a shot with a clear path to Makela, most of them seemed to be hers.
Calgary and Toronto meet for the rematch at 1:00 pm Sunday at the Mastercard Centre. The game will be broadcast live on Sportsnet.