2017-18 Clarkson Cup Playoffs Preview


2017-18 Clarkson Cup Playoffs

#1 Les Canadiennes de Montreal (22-5-1, 45 points) v. #4 Markham Thunder (14-7-7, 35 points)

Game 1: Friday, March 16 – 7:30 PM – Michel-Normandin Arena, Complexe Claude-Robillard

Game 2: Saturday, March 17 – 7:30 PM – Complexe sportif Bell – CWHL Live

Game 3 (if necessary): Sunday, March 18 – 2:30 PM – Michel-Normandin Arena, Complexe Claude-Robillard – CWHL Live

Series Preview

Les Canadiennes de Montreal claimed their eighth Chairman’s Trophy as regular season champions, utilizing a strong home series sweep of the visiting Calgary Inferno on the final weekend to secure first place. Les Canadiennes have showcased a tremendous scoring punch all season long with team scoring leader Ann-Sophie Bettez, new CWHL career goals leader Noemie Marin, and second-year standout Sarah Lefort, all recording 30 or more points. With the mid-season return of Caroline Ouellette, and end of season additions of Olympic medalists Hilary Knight and Lauriane Rougeau, opponents will be in tough to slow down the offensive juggernaut.  In net, Les Canadiennes have also experienced one of the best single-season performances from newcomer Emerance Maschmeyer. The former Calgary Inferno was picked up by Montreal in an offseason trade and ended 2017-18 with the most wins (18) of any goaltender this season, along with tying a new CWHL single-season shutout record with six this season.

Following a slow start to the 2017-18 season, the Markham Thunder secured their place in the Clarkson Cup playoffs on the final weekend of the regular season, utilizing a string of seven straight victories to conclude their playoff push. 2017-18 turned into a breakout season for fourth-year forward Jamie Lee Rattray, who surpassed the 30-point plateau for the first time in her career.  The Thunder have also added a new linemate for their scoring sensation with the return of Olympian and 2016-17 CWHL Rookie of the Year, Laura Stacey. In her first game back, Stacey picked up four points, illustrating the immediate impact she will have right next to Rattray. Defensively, the Thunder blueline has been bolstered with the mid-season addition of free agent Megan Bozek and the return of Olympians Laura Fortino and team captain Jocelyne Larocque. None of the three defensive difference-makers appeared in the five regular season meetings with Les Canadiennes this season.

2017-18 Head-to-Head (MTL won season series 5-0-0)

Oct. 28: MTL 1 MAR 0 (OT)
Oct. 29: MTL 3 MAR 2 (OT)
Dec. 2: MTL 3 MAR 2 (SO)
Dec. 16: MTL 5 MAR 4 (OT)
Dec. 17: MTL 2 MAR 1 (SO)

2017-18 Stats Leaders

Les Canadiennes de Montreal

Points: Ann-Sophie Bettez (39)
Goals: Ann-Sophie Bettez (19)
Assists: Ann-Sophie Bettez (20)
PIMs: Karell Emard (48)
PPG: Noemie Marin (8)
SHG: Ann-Sophie Bettez (3)
GAA: Emerance Maschmeyer (1.78)
SV%: Emerance Maschmeyer (.919)

Markham Thunder

Points: Jamie Lee Rattray (39)
Goals: Jamie Lee Rattray (22)
Assists: Jamie Lee Rattray (17)
PIMs: Devon Skeats (38)
PPG: Kristen Richards (4)
SHG: Jamie Lee Rattray (1)
GAA: Erica Howe (2.18)
SV%: Erica Howe (.930)

2017-18 Clarkson Cup Playoffs

#2 Kunlun Red Star (21-6-1, 43 points) v. #3 Calgary Inferno (17-7-4, 38 points)

Game 1: Friday, March 16 – 7:30 PM – Angus Glen Community Centre (Markham, ON)

Game 2: Saturday, March 17 – 4:30 PM – Angus Glen Community Centre (Markham, ON) – CWHL Live

Game 3 (if necessary): Sunday, March 18 – 5:30 PM – Angus Glen Community Centre (Markham, ON) – CWHL Live

Series Preview

At the top of the standings all season long, the Kunlun Red Star has proven to be a Clarkson Cup contender in just their first season in the CWHL. Under the leadership of two-time Clarkson Cup winning head coach Digit Murphy, KRS have capitalized on two of the best single-season performances in CWHL history. Up front, Kelli Stack has delivered an Angela James Bowl winning season as the CWHL’s scoring leader. Stack accrued 48 points (26 G, 22 A) over 28 games this season, averaging 1.71 points per game. The Cleveland, Ohio natives 48 points are the highest single-season total since 2011-12. Alongside veteran defence Jessica Wong and assists specialist Zoe Hickel, the top line attack for the Red Star has been nearly unstoppable. Meanwhile, between the posts, 2018 Olympic bronze medalist Noora Raty has been nearly unbeatable, leading the CWHL in both goals-against average (1.71) and save percentage (.937). The Finnish standout also tied with Les Canadiennes netminder, Emerance Maschmeyer, for a new CWHL single-season mark for shutouts, recording 6 in 16 wins this season.

With the largest contingent of players missing for a majority of the season due to Olympic centralization, the Calgary Inferno displayed the depth of talent they possess as a franchise all season long. Calgary was the hottest team to start 2017-18, beginning the season with 13 consecutive games without a regulation loss. Defensive stalwarts Katelyn Gosling and Jacquie Pierri have provided an anchor for the Inferno, while forwards Brittany Esposito, Iya Gavrilova, and rookie Sophie Shirley have stepped up in the absence of Calgary’s Olympic caliber playmakers. However, like the three other teams who have qualified for the Clarkson Cup playoffs, Calgary has received a boost heading into their playoff push with the return of two of their 11 Olympians. Brianne Jenner and Blayre Turnbull have come back elevating the speed of the Inferno’s attack once more. Both were top offensive threats for the Inferno in their Chairman’s Trophy campaign just a season ago.

2017-18 Head-to-Head (CGY won series 3-0-1)

Oct. 28: KRS 4 CGY 3 (OT)
Oct. 29: CGY 4 KRS 1
Feb. 7: CGY 3 KRS 2 (SO)
Feb. 9: CGY 3 KRS 2

2017-18 Stats Leaders

Kunlun Red Star

Points: Kelli Stack (48)
Goals: Kelli Stack (26)
Assists: Zoe Hickel (26)
PIMs: Stephanie Anderson (48)
PPG: Kelli Stack (5)
SHG: Stephanie Anderson/Zoe Hickel (1)
GAA: Noora Raty (1.71)
SV%: Noora Raty (.937)

Calgary Inferno

Points: Brittany Esposito (25)
Goals: Brittany Esposito (16)
Assists: Iya Gavrilova (18)
PIMs: Kelly Murray/Jacquie Pierri (26)
PPG: Brittany Esposito (7)
SHG: Kayla Gardner/Louise Warren (1)
GAA: Lindsey Post (2.21)
SV%: Lindsey Post (.913)

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