In a rare CWHL weeknight game, the Toronto Furies finished up their three-game home series with the Shenzhen Rays this evening. Shea Tiley was in net for the Furies, and at the other end of the ice, the Rays’ Kimberly Newell got her first CWHL start.
The starting lineup for the Furies was Shiann Darkangelo centering Brittany Zuback and Natalie Spooner, with Renata Fast and Emma Greco on D. The Rays put out Hanna Bunton, Hannah Miller, and Cayley Mercer at forward, along with defenders Emma Woods and Liu Zhixin. The Furies scratched Shannon Moulson on defense (she was also scratched on Sunday), but put Shannon Stewart back in, with Mackenzie MacNeil sitting out.
Stephanie Anderson of the Rays was called for slashing at about five minutes in, giving the Furies their first power play of the game. With about twenty seconds still to go on the Anderson call, Woods was whistled for hooking, extending the Furies’ power play and even giving them a brief 5-on-3 opportunity. They didn’t score on the 5-on-3, but with Woods still in the box, the Furies were able to convert. Julie Allen scored her first goal of the season, tipping a point shot through traffic. The assists went to Greco and Jordan Hampton, and the Furies took a 1-0 lead.
At around the nine-minute mark, the Rays took their third penalty of the period, Zhao Qinan going off for high-sticking. (It seems important to note that ten minutes into the first period, Shea Tiley had seen one (1) shot on goal, which seems less than great for the Rays, penalty trouble aside).
With a little less than four minutes remaining in the period, Rachel Llanes sent the puck over the glass, giving the Furies their fourth power play of the period. While the Rays were efficient at clearing the zone on the penalty kill to waste time off the clock, they weren’t following it out or pressuring the Furies power play enough in the neutral zone, so the Furies kept bringing it back in.
The period ended with seven shots for the Furies and four for the Rays. The Furies had the only goal.
The Rays finally got a shot at the player advantage about four minutes in, when Fast muscled someone off the puck and with a late shove picked up an interference call. Sena Suzuki lost her stick for a bit, but Tiley made some good positional saves and the Furies escaped unscathed. Even strength hockey didn’t last long, though, with Allen taking a cross-checking minor about thirty seconds after Fast was freed.
The Rays power play was not stellar, and that’s great for the Furies, because with Allen still in the box the Furies took another penalty. It took them a while to regain possession on the delayed penalty and get the whistle, and then Fast went back into the box again, this time on a 10-minute misconduct for checking from behind (yikes!). Jessica Platt joined her to serve the extra two. To the Furies’ great credit, they killed it off (a nice kick save by Tiley helped).
Two and a half minutes later, for the first time in the period, they got to go on the power play when Jessica Wong was whistled for bodychecking. Former Blade Hampton forced Newell to make a nice save on a point shot, but yet again, the power play was killed off. This game at least gave the Furies and Rays some great practice on special teams.
The second period wrapped up with no new scoring, still 1-0 Furies. Shots were three for Toronto, 13 for Shenzhen.
Early in the third, the Furies had a good chance from Sarah Nurse to Brittany Howard that Newell managed to save. Shortly after, Toronto took another penalty—Darkangelo for bodychecking. Howard nearly got a shorthanded breakaway, and then Nurse rang a shot off the post, but it was Shenzhen who got the goal—Hannah Miller, right as the power play was running out, evened the score at 1-1.
The Rays generally looked less sloppy this period.
Megan Quinn took the Furies’ sixth (lord have mercy) penalty of the game, an interference call, a little more than six minutes into the period. Fortunately, Mercer took a hooking call a little more than a minute into the Rays’ power play, switching it back to four on four hockey and then an abbreviated Furies power play. Spooner almost got a chance but Newell beat her to the puck.
It was Sarah Nurse, rookie, Olympian, queen of my heart, who gave Toronto the lead again on the power play. A pretty wrister top corner, and it was 2-1 Furies. As with the first Toronto goal, assists go to Hampton and Greco.
Carolyne Prévost got the insurance goal, going five-hole on Newell to make it 3-1. Prévost came off the bench, Jess Vella nudged the puck to her, and she had a clear shot to the net to convert. Assists go to Vella and Allen.
Late in the period, the Furies got a lot of opportunities—the Rays were letting them into the offensive zone far too easily, often with only one defender back. Howard had a nice little chip play, curling around and almost getting the puck through Newell’s pads—she’s due for a goal, too. Tiley was still making saves at the other end, of course, because she’s Shea Tiley.
The Rays call a timeout with 1:48 left in the period, followed by pulling Newell. Howard missed the empty net—she tossed the puck high in the air and while it got over the defender it died after hitting the ice. Toronto took their timeout with 20 seconds left, and while Sarah Nurse also missed the empty net, the Furies didn’t need another goal. They won the game, 3-1, even though the Rays outshot them 29 to 14.
- Sarah Nurse really wanted to score a goal as a Fury, and fortunately for all of us, she got one tonight. May it be the first of many.
- Shea Tiley! She is Good, especially positionally. Consistently hearing the puck thud off her pads was tremendously reassuring.
- It’s great seeing Sena Suzuki back with the Furies. While she’s not as flashy as, say, Fast, she keeps drawing notice by being quietly competent.
- Hampton was again noticeable tonight. She was running point on one of the power play units as well as playing a good bit of even-strength time, often paired with Suzuki. On top of her two assists, she had a few shot attempts, one that made a pretty impressive noise when it hit glass.
- The Furies’ attack was clearly more direct on Newell as opposed to Noora Räty this weekend. On Räty, there were a lot of drop passes and goal mouth passes, more tricky stuff, while tonight the Furies seemed more focused on simply finding an angle and shooting.
3rd: Hannah Miller, Shenzhen Rays (1 goal)
2nd: Emma Greco, Toronto Furies (2 assists)
1st: Shea Tiley (28 saves)