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CWHL Recap: Markham Thunder can’t extinguish the Inferno, Canadiennes roll over Toronto Furies

Late scoring wasn’t enough to get Markham and Toronto any wins.

Ailish Forfar (11) of the Markham Thunder and Kelty Apperson (18) of the Calgary Inferno battle for the puck. Laine Schuck / CWHL

Markham Thunder 4 vs Calgary Inferno 5

Today’s game is held at Centennial Community Centre because this game is being broadcast on Sportsnet. It also started an hour later than usual because of Sportsnet scheduling.

Starting forwards for the Markham Thunder are Kristen Richards, Jamie Lee Rattray, and a re-rostered Laura McIntosh. Jess Jones is not in the lineup today; it was announced on the broadcast that she suffered a lower body injury during yesterday’s game. Laura Fortino and Megan Bozek are on the blueline, and Liz Knox is in net with Erica Howe on the bench. Nicole Kosta and Alexis Woloschuk are listed as the additional scratches.

Starting for the Calgary Inferno are Rebecca Johnston, Venla Hovi, and Dakota Woodworth, with Kacey Bellamy and Katelyn Gosling on the blue line. Alex Rigsby starts in the net with Annie Bélanger on the bench. Yesterday’s scratches, Brianna Decker and Zoe Hickel, are not present.

First Period

Halfway through the period Erica Kromm goes into the box for tripping. The Inferno would have handled the penalty kill pretty easily, but Brigette Lacquette goes into the box not even a minute later, also for tripping. The Inferno are now on a 5-on-3.

It only takes the Thunder a few seconds to score a goal when Jenna McParland puts one in quickly, despite the puck taking a funny bounce. Assists are credited to Bozek and Fortino.

Kromm comes out of the box, but the Inferno are still shorthanded, and Bozek puts one in not even 10 seconds later, with assists credited to McIntosh and Rattray. This is Bozek’s first goal of the season, and I personally cannot believe it took her this long. Lacquette exits the box and the game is back to even strength. Thunder lead 2-0.

Taylor Woods gets a delay of game penalty with one second left on the clock. Sportsnet goes into what is the most useless commercial break ever. She will start the next period in the box, and the Thunder will be on the penalty kill.

Total shots on net for this period are 13 for the Thunder and 12 for the Inferno.

Second Period

The Thunder are on the penalty kill and send the puck down the ice. Brianne Jenner retrieves the puck and skillfully dangles it past every Thunder player trying to get in her way. She brings it down to the Thunder net and patiently looks for an opening. She finds one, and gets the Inferno their first goal of the game on the power play. Assist is credited to Lacquette.

After a lot of passing in front of the net, Gosling sinks one in. Assists are credited to Rebecca Leslie and Bellamy.

Richards gets a delayed penalty for tripping eight minutes in. The Inferno pull Rigsby but nothing comes of it. The Thunder are once again on the penalty kill. Jenner gets another goal, this time assisted by Leslie and Lacquette. Jenner is on hattrick watch now and the Inferno have the lead, 3-2.

Soon after the Jenner goal, there is a scramble in front of the Inferno net. Rigsby drops her stick but she grabs a skater’s stick and continues the play. She is able to successfully fend off the puck. I can say at this very moment my jaw has dropped.

Halli Krzyzaniak gets a penalty for interference, but the Thunder can’t capitalize.

With about 3:30 left on the clock, Nicole Brown makes a breakaway for the Inferno net, but she hits Rigsby’s left shoulder, and the puck goes flying. There is another scramble as the Thunder are trying to get it in and the Inferno are trying to get it out, so Rigsby jumps on the puck and covers it with her body, face first.

With two minutes left in the period, Blayre Turnbull heads down towards the side of the net, with Hovi opposite. She makes a clean pass back to Johnston who is entering the zone, and she shoots it straight down the centre into the net low blocker side. 4-2 for Calgary.

Krzyzaniak goes into the box again with a little over 2 minutes left on the clock. Brooke Webster joins her in the other box less than a minute later. The game is on a 4-on-4 for the last minute of the period. Krzyzaniak exits the box without incident. Webster will start the next period in the box with 49 seconds left on the clock.

Shots on goal this period are 12 for the Thunder and 15 for the Inferno.

Third Period

The Thunder start off on a penalty kill. It is played mostly in their half of the rink and they are struggling to get it out. It is clear that they do not fare well on penalty kills with the Inferno and should really try to stay out of the box.

We see a Krzyzaniak slapshot a minute into the period. It is sharp and precise and lands right in Knox’s midsection. Like I have said before, her slapshots rival that of Bozek.

At the 14:30 mark, Willoughby has a chance at a breakaway shot. But she is hesitant approaching and shoots it into Knox’s right shoulder.

Around the nine minute mark, there is passing in front of the Thunder net. Turnbull takes a shot that hits Knox in the shoulder again, but it bounces right over her shoulder and trickles into the net. Assists are credited to Johnston and Hovi. As a small goalie myself I cannot help but think that, if she was just a couple of inches taller, that shot would have been fallen forward instead.

Not even a minute later, the Inferno find the puck in their end. Victoria Bach picks up the puck from Rattray and sends a beauty of a pass in front of the net to Fortino, who sends an angled shot into Rigsby’s net on the far side, 5-3.

Lacquette goes to the box for holding with 2:17 left on the clock. Knox leaves the ice and the Inferno are now on a 6-on-4. Calgary wastes some penalty seconds with the puck stuck in the corner and somehow sends it down the ice. Jenner attempts a long shot at the Thunder net and they come out short.

Woodworth gets a penalty for tripping with 1:21 to go. The Thunder now have a three-man advantage with the empty net. Gosling gets a shot on the empty net from the Thunder blue line but ends up just grazing the post.

Rigsby holds them off but can only do so for that long. With 15 seconds left, she stops a shot with her pads but Rattray is able to push the puck in to make it 5-4. Assist is credited to Fortino.

Total shots on goal were 34 for the Thunder and 39 for the Inferno.

Three stars

3. Megan Bozek, Markham Thunder (1 goal, 1 assist)

2. Blayre Turnbull, Calgary Inferno (1 goal, 1 assist)

1. Brianne Jenner, Calgary Inferno (2 goals)

Notes

Despite the two early power play goals, the Inferno were playing a little more like themselves today. Passing was crisper and more precise. Defense was definitely more controlled than yesterday.

The Thunder definitely need to work on those penalty kills. At least they do not have any more games against Calgary this season.

It was an exciting game. Admittedly, it was hard to note all the goals and penalties because they were in quite quick succession.

It was announced during the game that Liz Knox was elected the second captain for the All-Star Game. I guess the #KnoxyForCaptain campaign worked. The teams that got their fans rallied behind a single player got their players elected.

Toronto Furies 3 vs Les Canadiennes de Montréal 6

It was the You Can Play game for the Canadiennes and this game was played in front of sold out crowd. Head coach Caroline Ouellette was back behind the bench for Montréal.

Back for Toronto was Emily Fulton. Jessica Platt and Shannon Moulson-Nap were not listed on the game sheet, although Moulson looked to be participating in pre-game warmups off-ice. (Moulson was also not on the game sheet yesterday, apologies for missing that.) Anissa Gamble and Jordan Hampton remain on the IR.

Elaine Chuli got her first start of 2019, with Renata Fast and Emma Greco at defence for the second start in a row and forwards Jess Vella, Julie Allen and Carolyne Prévost were up for the opening face-off.

The Canadiennes also switched it up a little, starting with Katia Clément-Heydra, Sarah Lefort and Hilary Knight up front, Lauriane Rougeau and Catherine Daoust on the blueline, but keeping Emerance Maschmeyer in net.

First period

3:26 Canadiennes get on the board first. Hilary Knight, who the broadcast described as “quiet” yesterday, scores her sixth of the season off a rebound with an assist from Erin Ambrose.

9:19 Off-balance, and through a gaggle of Furies, Marie-Philip Poulin still manages to find Jill Saulnier at the side of the net to put Montréal up 2-0. The secondary assist went to their linemate Ann-Sophie Bettez, who remains tied with Poulin for the league lead in points.

Shots in the first were 15-10 for the Canadiennes, and somehow there were no penalties in the period.

Second period

1:24 A quick start to the second period for Montréal as rookie Geneviève Bannon scores to make it 3-0, assisted by Karell Émard

2:43 Furies goal! Sarah Nurse buries a rebound from Natalie Spooner for her tenth goal of the season and to kill another Maschmeyer shutout streak before it really got going.

4:01 Émard from Saulnier. There was some discussion from the refs but the goal was called good. 4-1.

8:01 Bettez scores, moving into the goal scoring lead, assisted by Saulnier and Poulin.

Shots 12-6 for the Canadiennes, still no penalties. Would love to know if the players are really this well behaved or if the refs just aren’t calling anything

Third period

11:02 First penalty of the game (!?) comes courtesy of former Fury Erin Ambrose, who goes off for holding. Unfortunately, Toronto is unable to capitalize.

14:18 Jess Vella scores her second of the season with assists from Julie Allen and Carolyne Prévost. That’s the second goal in as many games for that line, which is nice to see, and it got Prévost her 100th career point.

15:12 Shannon Stewart follows it up quickly with her second of the season assisted by Brittany Howard.

17:38 The Canadiennes get understandably nervous and counter with their sixth goal of the game to keep a three-goal lead, 6-3. It’s Poulin, of course, fed by Bettez and Catherine Daoust. So, as they were when the game started, Poulin and Bettez are still tied for the CWHL lead in goals and points. The one change is that Ambrose has now joined them in a three-way tie for most assists.

Shots in the period were 10-7 in favour of Toronto and 33-26 in favour of Montréal for the game.

A tough loss for Toronto — with the Rays in Worcester they knew they had to win at least one this weekend to keep the fight for fourth close and they didn’t manage to do it.

Three stars

3. Sarah Nurse, Toronto Furies (1 goal)

2. Karell Émard, Canadiennes de Montréal (1 goal, 1 assist)

1. Jill Saulnier, Canadiennes de Montréal (1 goal, 2 assists)

The Furies head off to Calgary next weekend for two games. Saturday’s game time has been changed to 8:30 pm EST but it will still be streamed via CWHL Live. The next time you can catch the Thunder will be at the All-Star Game on Sunday January 20th at 1:30 pm. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster and the game will be broadcast on Sportsnet.