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CWHL Recap: Furies sweep the Inferno 5-2

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It’s officially a streak as the Furies win live on national television.

The Toronto Furies celebrate their win over the Calgary Inferno.
The Toronto Furies celebrate their win over the Calgary Inferno.
Chris Tanouye / CWHL

If you’d have told me this morning that this season’s Toronto Furies were going to score early and often enough to chase the goalie who was named 2016 Clarkson Cup MVP after only 25 minutes of play, I would have asked what you were drinking. And yet, here we are.

Amanda Makela is on some kind of roll, taking the Furies to their first three-game winning streak of the season. She’s made 91 saves over that time, letting in just two goals per game.

Of course Makela couldn’t do everything by herself. This was the first time all season that the Furies scored more than three goals in regulation (for those counting, they have five games left). Their power play was firing on all cylinders: the only goal scored on a goalie at even strength was Jenna Dingeldein’s game winner early in the second period, which also spelled the end for Calgary starter Delayne Brian. (Several people took great glee in informing me on twitter that Brian had indeed made the trip. I regret nothing.)

Emily Fulton, Carolyne Prévost and Jess Vella had the power play markers, and Hayley Williams sealed the deal with an empty-netter after a few less-than-successful attempts. (She straight up whiffed on two consecutive attempts to shoot.)

Reminder, by the way, that Williams played a total of 19 CWHL games before scoring her first point and she now has 12 in her last 19 games. Also, Williams spent the majority of her college years in the ACHA — proof that NCAA Division I doesn’t hold a monopoly on women’s hockey talent.

This was a fast-paced game from the word go and I really don’t know how the Furies kept up. In the first period there was a lot of the same sort of thing I’d seen in previous games, both against Calgary and also Montréal last weekend — a lot of entries into the offensive zone but not a lot of sustained time and definitely not a lot of shots. The Inferno outshot the Furies 14-7 in the first despite spending less than a minute and a half more on the power play than Toronto. (It would have been more even, but Fulton had a goal to score.)

Shots flipped in the second, with the Furies up 14-8. It was the first three of the period that were the problem for Brian - two of those went in. The third goal of the game, Dingeldein’s, looked pretty similar to the first from Fulton, which may have contributed to Brian getting pulled. Both were shots that went up and in from not particularly close, with a straight line between the shooter and the goalie. I’m not going to say Brian should have had either of them, they were both pretty goals, but it was a bit of a pattern.

The only goal on Calgary backup Toni Ross was a fast, low seeing-eye point shot from Katie Gaskin that Vella tipped just right to make the score 4-0 with barely less than half the game to go.

Megan Grenon, who had been in the box for the Vella goal on an interference call, scored her first CWHL goal with less than three minutes to go in the second period. Grenon took a hard shot that Makela was a hair too slow reacting to — it went right through her.

The third period seemed to go by in the blink of an eye despite the tv timeouts. No penalties were called and play raced up and down the ice. This might have been helped along by a number of shots going wide and ringing around the net — there were only 11 actual shots on goal counted between the two teams in the final period.

Sophie Shirley scored the period’s only goal on a goalie, but since it came with only 4:13 left in the game, it wasn’t particularly worrying. For those who haven’t seen her before, Shirley was a star on the 2016 Canadian U18 team and was granted an age exception to play in the CWHL this season.

Calgary called a timeout with three minutes to go and pulled Ross immediately following that. This led to more than one attempt by the Furies on the empty net, as well as what looked like some sort of farce involving rubber hockey sticks as two players completely missed the puck three times before Hayley Williams finally made contact. She scored, and put the game well and truly out of the Inferno’s reach.

Note

During the Sportsnet broadcast the league finally announced the date and location of the Clarkson Cup final. The game, which will be broadcast on Sportsnet, will take place at noon on Sunday March 25 at Ricoh Colliseum. Tickets will go onsale through Ticketmaster at 10 am tomorrow. Tickets are $20.00 each.

Three stars

3 Carlee Campbell, Toronto Furies (2A)

2 Carolyne Prévost, Toronto Furies (1G)

1 Emily Fulton, Toronto Furies (1G, 1A)

The Furies play the Markham Thunder next weekend in Markham. Tickets are available here and the Saturday game will be broadcast live on Sportsnet at 1:00 pm Eastern