With an overtime winner from Stephanie Anderson, the Kunlun Red Star picked up a 3-2 victory in Game 2 of their semifinal series versus the Calgary Inferno. The Saturday afternoon (Mar. 17) win at the Angus Glen Community Centre in Markham, Ont. forces a Game 3 in the best-of-three Clarkson Cup playoff round.
The action was fast and furious from the opening whistle in Markham. Calgary found themselves in penalty trouble following the midway point of the opening frame, allowing over a minute advantage of 5-on-3 for the Red Star. With just three seconds remaining in the powerplay Kunlun defence Taylor Marchin sent a strong point shot past Inferno goaltender Delayne Brian to open the scoring. Defence partner Jessica Wong and Anderson registered the assists.
After the intermission break, the Inferno returned to the ice with clear intentions of finding an equalizer. Opportunites were aplenty for Calgary with the Red Star recording three consecutive penalties in the middle of the period. Kunlun goaltender Noora Raty was up to the task of shutting down the Calgary pressure, posting 15 of her 34 total saves in the period.
The Inferno, however, would not be denied and utilized the Olympic connection of Brianne Jenner and Blayre Turnbull to even the game with just over one minute remaining in the second frame. Jenner overpowered the Kunlun defence before sending a cross-crease pass to Turnbull who deposited the equalizer into the open cage. Louise Warren would also garner an assist on the play.
With tension at an all-time high the Red Star took their second lead of the game when Shiann Darkangelo was sprung for a breakaway with a precise pass from Wong. Facing Brian one-on-one, Darkangelo delivered a perfectly placed wrist shot over the outstretched glove of the Inferno netminder to retake the lead at the 7:53 mark of the third.
Calgary rebounded once again though, utilizing a powerplay chance in the final minutes of regulation. With open ice to the left of Raty, Inferno forward Iya Gavrilova delivered a wicked wrist shot past the Finnish netminder to force overtime. Jenner was awarded her second assist of the game in finding Gavrilova on the wing.
In the opening minutes of the extra frame, an Inferno opportunity at one end of the rink was immediately followed by a break out by Angela James Bowl winner Kelli Stack towards the other end. Streaking down the right wing following the Calgary pinch, Stack delivered a pass to a wide-open Anderson who produced a clinical finish for the win.
With the series now tied 1-1 both teams will be on short rest with Game 3 scheduled for tomorrow afternoon (Mar. 18) at the Angus Glen Community Centre. Puck drop is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. with a berth to the Clarkson Cup Final on the line.
Game 3: Sunday, March 18 – 5:30 PM – Angus Glen Community Centre (Markham, ON)
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