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CWHL Recap: Markham Thunder fall 5-3 to the Calgary Inferno

A two point game for Brooke Webster and 36 saves from Liz Knox weren’t enough to get the sweep.

Liz Knox (37) in goal for the Markham Thunder Dave Holland / CWHL

The only change to the starting lineups from yesterday’s game was Liz Knox coming in to play goal for the Thunder. Laura Stacey, Kristen Richards and Jenna McParland started at forward with Jocelyne Larocque and Laura Fortino on defence. Nicole Kosta remains out.

Despite yesterday’s loss, the Inferno started their game the same way they did yesterday: Zoe Hickel, Brianna Decker and Rebecca Johnston up front with Kacey Bellamy and Katelyn Gosling as the defenders and Alex Rigsby in net.

Things got going quickly as Richards was called for a trip less than a minute into the game. Calgary took advantage of the early power play to score on Knox and take the lead. Rebecca Leslie got the goal with an assist from Bellamy.

Markham didn’t wait long to even things up. Jamie Lee Rattray put one past Rigsby just two minutes later, assisted by Brooke Webster.

Another tripping call on the Thunder, this time Taylor Woods. Despite a few good chances, notably one by Blayre Turnbull, the Inferno didn’t manage to cash in.

Things settled down as the period went on, if “settled down” can mean “the Inferno were getting a lot of shots but nobody scored and nobody went to the box”.

Tweet of the period, possibly of the game.

With just over a minute left in the period Rattray was called for roughing. Laura Stacey kicked things off with a shorthanded chance that just missed the net. Unfortunately, Markham then found themselves down 5 on 3 when Ailish Forfar went off for slashing.

Shots for the period were 13-11 in favour of the Inferno, who would start the second with 48 seconds of 5 on 3.

They made those seconds count, giving Knox more than she could handle.

Rebecca Johnston was credited with the goal, Decker with the assist and Calgary still had over a minute left with the advantage. It didn’t take a minute. 49 seconds later Turnbull got another puck past Knox, assisted by Leslie and the Inferno were up 3-1 less than two minutes into the second.

The Thunder got a power play of their own a few minutes later when Kelly Murray sat for holding, but couldn’t beat Rigsby. Jess Jones got off a great wrist shot just after the penalty expired but Rigsby was there.

Instead, the next goal came about two thirds of the way through the period. The scorer was Laura Stacey, assisted by her linemates McParland and Richards. (The Richards assist isn’t on the game sheet but I have learned to rely on twitter over game sheets this season and both teams agree she has one.)

The Inferno answered back half a minute later, this time Zoe Hickel from Rebecca Johnston. Kelly Murray promptly headed back to the box for a bodycheck, but that was not the good news Markham were expecting, as Venla Hovi and Zoe Hickel made off on a two on one breakaway and Hovi beat Knox to make it 5-2. (One problem with Inferno games besides the obvious, is that they have two sets of sisters so “Hickel” and “Murray” always need first names.)

Jones was next to sit, this time for a cross-check with 25 seconds left in the period, so for the second period in a row, the Thunder would begin a period on the kill. Shots in the period were 21 to 7 in favour of Calgary, which is not good news if you’re a Thunder fan.

The Thunder were able to successfully kill the penalty to start the third. The net penalty went to the Inferno as Louise Warren went off for a bodycheck on Jones about five minutes in.

Fortino and Megan Bozek both got shots off, but Fortino missed the net and the rebound off Bozek’s shot was quickly lost to the ref’s sight and the whistle went. Knox continued to do work at the other end of the rink.

About halfway through the period Brigette Lacquette was called for holding. Brianne Jenner had herself a shorthanded breakaway until Bozek tripped her up... and then she had herself a penalty shot. Jenner did her best but Knox shut the door and the power play resumed for Markham.

Laura Fortino brought the Thunder within two with 2:01 left in the game, assisted by Webster. Markham pulled Knox with 45 seconds left but that was all she wrote. They managed to outshoot the Inferno 10-9 in the period, but it wasn’t enough.

Three Stars

3. Jamie Lee Rattray, Markham Thunder (1 goal, 2 penalty minutes)

2. Brigette Lacquette, Calgary Inferno (2 penalty minutes)

1. Rebecca Leslie, Calgary Inferno (1 goal, 1 assist)

Markham and Calgary will go for the rematch next weekend in Markham. The Markham vs Toronto game that was scheduled for this Tuesday has been moved to sometime later in the season. The Furies will host the Worcester Blades this weekend. Tickets are available online and the Toronto games will be streamed.