Toronto Furies 1 vs Canadiennes de Montréal 3
With coaches Courtney Kessel and Caroline Ouellette both elsewhere—Kessel in Japan at the Women’s U-18 World Championships and Ouellette in Vancouver at World Juniors—their teams faced each other on the first Sportsnet broadcast of the season.
Assistant coach Jim Nyhuus went with what’s become a fairly standard starting forward line for the Furies, bringing in Natalie Spooner, Sarah Nurse and Shannon Stewart. Renata Fast and Emma Greco have started the game less often on the blueline, and of course Shea Tiley is becoming a fixture in goal.
Jessica Platt was scratched for this game, along with Emily Fulton, Anissa Gamble and Jordan Hampton. Carolyne Prévost returned from her adventures in Dubai and Carlee Campbell made her season debut. Both Sydney Kidd and Jenna Dingeldein were in the lineup as well.
Danièle Sauvageau countered with her top line of Marie-Philip Poulin, Ann-Sophie Bettez and Jill Saulnier up front, Erin Ambrose and Melanie Desrochers on the back end and Emerance Maschmeyer as always in net.
The Furies start off with control of the puck but don’t set up well in the o-zone, leading to a lot of north-south play. Toronto seems to be getting more shot attempts in the early going.
Tiley looks to be having a good day, reacting quickly without flailing, keeping her body language very quiet.
Spooner and Nurse are getting a bunch of shot attempts but nothing’s going in yet.
Toronto looks good, spending a lot of time in the offensive zone, blocking shots when the Canadiennes get the puck and limiting Montréal’s time in the zone.
Lovely glove save by Tiley on a Rougeau shot 8:10 to go.
The Furies have some trouble exiting the zone, as Hilary Knight makes her presence felt.
This one was all Poulin, she carries the puck from the Montréal zone, around a few Furies and rips a shot top corner to make it 1-0. Bettez gets an assist on the play.
Glove save Maschmeyer on a nifty shot by Spooner, who had stolen the puck from Montréal.
First power play of the game goes to the Canadiennes as Campbell is sent off for interference. Nurse feeds Spooner for a shorthanded chance, fights her way through a couple of Canadiennes but can’t get the shot off.
Poulin gets her second goal of the game, given too much space on the power play she gets the puck from Bettez and roofs it to make it 2-0.
The Furies respond with some offensive zone pressure but can’t get anything in the net before the Canadiennes take it back. The period ends with the Canadiennes buzzing around Tiley again.
Shots on the period 9-7 in favour of Montréal.
The period kicks off with a lot of neutral zone hockey and some work for Tiley.
Another penalty, this time a roughing call on Dingeldein. She’s not happy about it, feels that there should have been a holding call on the Canadiennes on the same play.
Campbell is out on the penalty kill and she clears the puck. The Canadiennes ice it trying to get it back. Apart from one opportunity for Poulin, the Furies are good at wasting Montréal’s time.
Back at five on five the Furies get some offensive zone time but can’t get pucks to the net.
Stoppage as Fast and Lauriane Rougeau get their cages stuck together. One of those things that looks funny but can be very dangerous.
The Toronto defenders are continuously firing the puck into the Montréal zone but it isn’t staying there. Not sure why they’ve changed tactics from the first when they were skating it in.
Karell Émard sends the puck over the glass and the Furies get their first power play. They have to re-set a couple of times before they get a foothold in the Canadiennes zone. Spooner gets a chance at the side of the net but can’t put it in. Some battling along the boards kills most of the remaining time.
Concentrated pressure by the Canadiennes keeps Tiley busy before Sena Suzuki finally clears the puck.
Emerance Maschmeyer is currently working on her 8th consecutive shutout period against the Furies.
MacNeil works in but is denied by the glove hand of Maschmeyer.
A scramble in front of Tiley with six minutes to go ends up with Prévost in on Maschmeyer at the other end.
The second power play of the period goes to Toronto as Émard trips up Sarah Nurse at the Montréal blueline. There’s a delay getting going after some issues with the clock. Couple of chances for Nurse and Spooner but the Canadiennes get the puck out a couple of times, including a shorthanded chance for Heydra.
Some shoving in front of Tiley. Furies are slowing down a bit this period and giving Montréal too much space.
Toronto gets pinned in their own end as the clock winds down, and Knight finishes things off with a shot on Tiley.
This time the Furies out-shot the Canadiennes 10-9.
Montréal grabs the puck and it’s behind Shea Tiley before she has time to think. Poulin with the hat-trick 33 seconds into the period, assisted by Bettez and Saulnier.
The Furies aren’t getting nearly the same amount of offensive zone time that we saw in the first two periods. When they’re down going into the third I usually expect to see a lot more battle from them.
Nurse hits a crossbar and it’s probably the closest Toronto has come to a goal all game.
The Canadiennes aren’t letting up but Tiley and her defense are keeping the puck out.
Poulin and Fast go down together but there’s no call.
A seeing-eye shot makes its way through a crowd to Tiley but she hangs on.
Prévost finally breaks the shutout streak as she gets her own rebound and backhands the puck past Maschmeyer’s pad. 3-1, with the assist to Julie Allen.
Nurse nearly follows it up with another but is foiled by Catherine Daoust.
Geneviève Bannon goes to the box with a trip on Kidd and Toronto calls their timeout before the power play. Tiley is pulled for a 6 on 4 with 2:23 to go. The Furies power players are patient, looking for the right lane. Spooner’s goal mouth attempt is smothered, then she misses the net on her next try.
The puck comes out of the offensive zone as Bannon comes out of the box, she makes an attempt on the empty net but misses. Dingeldein keeps Poulin from another attempt but it’s all in vain as the clock runs out.
Shots on the period were 9-2 in favour of Montréal and 27-19 for the game.
3. Emerance Maschmeyer, Les Canadiennes de Montréal (26 saves)
2. Ann-Sophie Bettez, Les Canadiennes de Montréal (3 assists)
1. Marie-Philip Poulin, Les Canadiennes de Montréal (3 goals)
I don’t think anyone can blame Shea Tiley for this one, Poulin is Poulin and Tiley made some pretty great saves otherwise.
Nice to see Carlee Campbell back and contributing. Didn’t notice her usual signature slapshot but otherwise it’s like she never left.
It might just have been the benefit of having commentary but I noticed the defence more than usual today, particularly Julia Fedeski, who was taking shots from the blueline.
There were comments about this on the broadcast and it’s been a consistent problem on the year — Furies missing the net. Maybe they need a little more target practice. Could putting a picture of Maschmeyer’s face on a shooter tutor help?
The Shenzhen Rays beat the Worcester Blades today, so the Furies are now 3 points out of the playoffs. They can’t let that gap widen much more.
One of the best things about tomorrow’s Sportsnet broadcast will be how much less we’ll hear “the Montreal les Canadiennes” which is even more grammatically stupid than “the Les Canadiennes de Montréal” and had me wanting to go after my tv with an ice pick.
The first of the two All-Star captains was announced today: Brigette Lacquette, veteran defender for the Calgary Inferno, will captain a team for the first time at the All-Star Game.
Markham Thunder 3 vs Calgary Inferno 4 (OT)
Starting for the Markham Thunder are what I have previously termed the “Brown-Bach-McParland” line of Jenna McParland, Nicole Brown, Victoria Bach. Joining them on defense are Megan Bozek and Laura Fortino. This seems to be the line that coach Jim Jackson has settled on when up against the Inferno. Taking her usual Saturday spot in net is Erica Howe with Liz Knox as backup. Scratches as usual are Nicole Kosta and Alexis Woloschuk.
Starting for their opponents tonight, the Calgary Inferno, are Tori Hickel, Kelly Murray, Rhianna Kurio, Kaitlin Willoughby, and Halli Krzyzaniak. Not sure what’s the reasoning behind the Inferno wanting to start their third line. Alex Rigsby is in net and Annie Bélanger is on the bench. Scratches for for the Inferno are Brianna Decker, who is coaching Team USA U18 in Japan and Zoe Hickel who was injured in the game against Toronto before the Christmas break.
Six minutes in Brigette Lacquette goes into the box for hooking. Not surprisingly, the Inferno kill off that penalty.
In a rare opening in the Inferno’s defense, Jamie Lee Rattray sinks a hard one straight into Rigsby’s midsection. The puck goes loose but Bach is to busy being tied up by a defender to get the puck and Rigsby promptly reels it in and freezes it.
Rebecca Johnston easily dangles the puck past all of the Thunder and puts one straight into Howe’s pads. It rebounds and she shoots it into the net again, also hitting Howe, and it goes loose again. She passes it to Rebecca Leslie who once again shoots it at Howe’s open side, but once again Howe slides across the net and saves it. It was an impressive triple rebound save, I do not think my description does it justice, but you can tell that Howe is on her A-game tonight.
Kelly Murray goes into the box for roughing. Fortino takes advantage of the lack of defense and sinks it right through Rigsby’s five-hole and into the net. Assists are credited to Kristen Richards and goalie Howe gets her first assist of the game for punting the puck down the ice for them.
At this point I’m thinking that the Inferno defense is lacking tonight because they have let the Thunder come closer to the net than other games I have seen. Rigsby has already seen 14 shots and there are still seven minutes left on the clock this period.
Brianne Jenner goes into box for tripping with five minutes left on the clock. The Inferno are on their third penalty kill of the night, but they successfully manage to clear this one.
The Thunder are up by one as they outshoot the Inferno at a rate of 3:1. Shots on net at the end of the first period were 18 for the Thunder and 6 for the Inferno.
The first 10 minutes go by with the same messy play as the first period. Venla Hovi sends a slapshot past several Thunder and Inferno screening Howe, and Rebecca Johnston tips it into the net. The box score is confused and credits Rebecca Leslie with the goal unassisted, but I am absolutely certain that she was not even on the ice when the goal was scored.
A minute and a half later, Blayre Turnbull sends one top shelf over Howe’s right shoulder and into open side of net. There was nothing that Fortino and Bozek could do to block that shot other than stand behind Howe in the crease.
The Inferno are up 2-1. Shots on goal were 10 for the Thunder and 14 for the Inferno.
Lacquette in the box for bodychecking two minutes in. The Inferno kill off that penalty.
Five minutes in, Richards goes to the box for tripping an Inferno player. They could not be further away from the puck, that penalty seemed so unnecessary.
Almost nine minutes in, Rebecca Leslie goes to the box for tripping Howe in her crease. That penalty is killed off.
In perhaps the Inferno’s best performance the entire game, Katelyn Gosling passes it from the right side of the net to Leslie, who passes it to Jenner in front. She has 2 defensemen on her but somehow manages to put one into the net. Howe was so heavily screened by her own defensemen who were trying to get the Inferno offense out of the crease that there was no way she could have seen that shot coming.
Lacquette leaves her spot to the right of the net and is down up front in the middle again. Jocelyne Larocque sees an opportunity and passes it to Kristen Barbara, who shoots it into Rigsby’s open side with no defense to get in the way of the shot.
In the last 30 seconds of the period, Lacquette has the puck but weakly tries to pass it to her teammate. Bach manages to intercept it, work her magic, and put one straight into the net.
Bach’s goal ties up the game 3-3 and we are going into overtime. Shots on goal for this period are 11 for the Thunder and 9 for the Inferno.
Bach, Stacey, Bozek and Fortino were in for the Thunder for the overtime 4 on 4. The Inferno countered with Jenner, Turnbull, Lacquette and Krzyzaniak.
The whole period was a lot of back and forth with neither end able to get a quality shot at the net. The last minute is played in front of the Thunder net but the strong Thunder defense are preventing the Inferno from getting a shot in. Gosling and Bellamy pass the puck back and forth a lot, and Bellamy finally takes a slapshot that finds its way into the net with 13 seconds on the clock.
Shots in overtime were just 1 for the Thunder and 5 for the Inferno. Total shots on net for the game were 40 for the Thunder and 34 for the Inferno.
- Both the Thunder and Inferno offense were just messy today. Even most of the Thunder’s shots in the first period were the offense trying to poke in rebounds from defensemen slapshots. Passes were sloppy and easily intercepted.
- Both goaltenders were on the top of their game though —I’m surprised that neither goaltender got any of the stars. Rigsby especially came through when the defense fell short. The Thunder’s defense was solid and accounted for two of the three goals, and as mentioned before there were many holes in Inferno defense. This has to be Rigsby’s first time facing 40 shots in a long time.
- Bellamy was the only bright spark on the Inferno defense this entire game. She did better than most of the Inferno defensemen today and always able to read the play. I felt that she was going to score a goal all game because she was able to see the openings, and she did!
- Lacquette does not seem to play in her position which might explain some, but not all of the holes in the Inferno defense. She is up with the forward lines a lot and always trying to score a goal. On the Thunder’s second goal Lacquette left her entire side undefended and was up front and centre, allowing Barbara to shoot it in the net. Her failed pass was also the precursor to the game-tying goal. In addition to that she was in the penalty box twice that game.
- Jess Jones was playing in the game, but seemed to have left the game midway because she was in the audience in the last period talking to people in the audience. Not sure what happened there.
- I have not seen much from the other Thunder rookies lately other than Bach. And not much from Rattray, Jones, and Laura Stacey lately either.
- It is Bozek’s 50th CWHL game. A little more than half of those games were from the 2014-2015 season with the Toronto Furies, the year they won the Clarkson Cup.
Toronto and Markham try again tomorrow. The Thunder will face off against the Inferno at 1:30 pm EST on Sportsnet and the Furies take on the Canadiennes also at 1:30 pm EST — no confirmation yet on streaming, but if it is you can find it on their website.