With a shorthanded overtime game-winner from Jamie Lee Rattray, the Markham Thunder pulled off a Game 1 upset of the No. 1 seeded Les Canadiennes de Montreal on Friday night (Mar. 16) at Arena Michel-Normandin.
The win marks the eighth consecutive win for the Thunder who secured their place in the Clarkson Cup playoffs on the final weekend of the regular season. The win also marks the first for Markham over Montreal this season as Les Canadiennes had won all five regular season meetings.
A scoreless first period saw both goaltenders display why they were nominated for the CWHL’s Goaltender of the Year award earlier this week. Thunder goalie Erica Howe steered aside all 13 Montreal shots in the period, while Les Canadiennes netminder Emerance Maschmeyer was unblemished with seven saves.
Markham struck first, scoring the games first marker at 11:58 of the second period. Thunder rookie forward Nicole Kosta registered her first career CWHL playoff goal, with the assist coming from CWHL veteran Laura McIntosh.
Chances were aplenty down the stretch with both teams registering 13 shots on net in the final frame. However, regulation time would not be enough for the sixth consecutive meeting between these two heated rivals.
Despite being shorthanded, Rattray made her mark five minutes into the overtime frame. Recording a point in 16 straight games to end the 2017-18 regular season, the former Clarkson University Golden Knight extended this streak into the postseason, spoiling Game 1 for the home crowd with the overtime winner.
The Thunder will now look to make their first appearance in the Clarkson Cup since 2012 with a Game 2 win, while Montreal will need to rebound quickly as they strive for a third consecutive Clarkson Cup appearance. Puck drop for Saturday night (Mar. 17) is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Complexe sportif Bell in Brossard, Que. All the action will also be streamed on CWHL Live.
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
Purchase tickets for the 2017-18 Clarkson Cup Playoffs at thecwhl.com/tickets.
Purchase tickets for the 2018 Clarkson Cup Weekend including the 2018 CWHL Awards Show and the Clarkson Cup Final by visiting thecwhl.com/clarksoncup.