An exciting weekend in the CWHL featured two more shootouts, two double-digit losing streaks ended, and a little separation at the top of the standings.
The weekend opened with a doubleheader rematch of the 2017 Clarkson Cup, as Montréal traveled to Calgary for a showdown of first-place teams. The first game of the back-to-back also served as the Inferno’s annual Keep the Beat game, in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Calgary looked strong through the first 30 minutes of the opening contest, controlling the pace and picking up a goal midway through the second period courtesy Elana Lovell. However, Les Canadiennes shifted momentum under a minute into the third period with a marker from Sarah Lefort and from that point on took control of the weekend series. Veteran forward Marion Allemoz sealed the deal with a Saturday night shootout winner, before two first period goals from recently acquired defence Erin Ambrose and offensive stalwart Katia Clement-Heydra proved to be the difference maker in a decisive Sunday afternoon victory. The offence was more than enough for Les Canadiennes goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer who earned her second shutout of the season in Sunday’s 24 save performance while making 51 total saves in the doubleheader. The pair of wins ends a 10-game winning streak for the Inferno while lifting Les Canadiennes three-points ahead in the standings. Calgary does still have a game-in-hand on Montréal.
South of the border, the Boston Blades earned their first win of the season over a visiting Toronto Furies squad on Saturday night. The win was spurred on by the teams best offensive output of the season. Following an exciting first period, which saw the game even at two goals apiece, Blades goaltender Lauren Dahm shut the door on the Furies for the remaining 40 minutes. With Taylor Wasylk picking up what would become the game-winner just three minutes into the second period, the Blades utilized their confidence in the defensive end to secure the elusive first win. The Furies rebounded the following afternoon though, scoring two third period goals to earn their first win following a tough 11-game slide. Toronto outshot Boston 39-19 through 60 minutes, with Emily Fulton and Carolyne Prevost picking up the late-game goals to earn the road-split.
In Markham, the Thunder delivered a successful equipment drive with donations benefitting local hockey clubs. On the ice, the Vanke Rays began a three-game series versus the Thunder with a bang, collecting three first period goals in under seven minutes of play. CWHL scoring leader Cayley Mercer notched another two goals to continue to build on an incredible rookie campaign, while Rays captain Minghui Kong earned her first career goal. The Thunder did not disappoint the home crowd though, scoring three third period goals to tie the game and force overtime for the seventh time this season. Following the five minute period, the shootout was needed and the Thunder delivered with Taylor Woods and Laura McIntosh both scoring in the skills competition to pick up the victory. The win could prove critical in the three-game home series with the Rays as Markham now sits just four points behind Vanke in the standings for fourth place.
Jan.6: Les Canadiennes 2, Calgary Inferno 1 (SO)
Jan. 6: Boston Blades 4, Toronto Furies 2
Jan. 6: Markham Thunder 5, Vanke Rays 4 (SO)
Jan. 7: Les Canadiennes 3, Calgary Inferno 0
Jan. 7: Toronto Furies 2, Boston Blades 1
PLAYERS STATS – GOALIE STATS – CWHL STANDINGS
Kunlun Red Star (11-4-0, 22 points) vs. Toronto Furies (4-11-2, 10 points)
Saturday, Jan. 13 7:00 PM EST – MasterCard Centre Rink 1
Sunday, Jan. 14 1:00 PM EST – MasterCard Centre Rink 1
Vanke Rays (10-3-1, 21 points) vs. Markham Thunder (6-7-5, 17 points)
Saturday, Jan. 13 7:30 PM EST – Thornhill Community Centre – CWHL Live
Sunday, Jan. 14 1:30 PM EST – Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex