CWHL Weekend Game Review: October 18th & 19th, 2014

CWHL Weekend Game Review: October 18th & 19th, 2014

HOCKEY SEASON HAS STARTED NOW, Y’ALL. We’re very excited! Expect regular weekend previews, weekend reviews, and at least one streaming game write-up, with more in-depth analysis. There’s no streaming game write-up this weekend, however, due to some real life stuff. And with that–
Continue reading CWHL Weekend Game Review: October 18th & 19th, 2014

2014 Clarkson Cup: Toronto Furies Win First Clarkson Cup Title Over Boston Blades, 1-0

What a game.

Both the Toronto Furies and the Boston Blades started out tentative. Toronto had a slight edge in shots in the first, and managed just a little more cycling in Boston’s zone than vice versa, but overall, there were a lot of missed passes and fumbling plays in the neutral zone. I got the feeling, watching, that both teams were waiting for the other to break out. Natalie Spooner was by far the most noticeable player – yes, in spite of Knight and Stack being heavily used on Boston’s top line. I said on Twitter that I don’t think Spooner ever bothers even entering the zone without possession. She’s an incredibly dynamic force. Buesser took a stupid penalty, but Toronto failed to capitalize; Boston also had a weak power play, spending more time fishing the puck out of their own zone than putting shots on Toronto’s net. Late in the period, Kelli Stack intercepted a pass right in front of Kessler, but Kessler kept her from being able to elevate, and the game stayed 0-0.

The second period was a lot more active, with both teams being a lot less tentative. Toronto controlled play much more early on, cycling and putting shots on Ott. Things settled down midway through the second period, but play picked up again towards the end of the period, with both teams getting chances deep in the zone. Kessler and Ott were by far the most outstanding players on the ice, but Koizumi was putting in hard work for Boston, and Bonhomme was creating chances for Toronto. It’s worth noting that Boston tried to put a lot of pucks on Kessler from the point, which was, obviously, not effective. Play was also focused quite a bit on the boards, with both teams doing their share of dumping and chasing, and passing along the boards.

Ott had be sharp early in the third, with Toronto again coming roaring out of the gate. Boston got a power play on a weak Bonhomme interference call, but they didn’t do much of it. The story of Boston this game was looking for the perfect play, and not finding it. Stack and Knight in particular were not quite connecting; passes would be just a bit too far ahead or behind, or Boston would lose the puck at the blue line. Though it didn’t show on the scoreboard, Toronto disrupted Boston’s usual style of play to a remarkable degree. Boston couldn’t steamroll them, and Toronto took away the space to make plays that Boston’s used to having. Boston actually had to take a tripping penalty in the third, Naslund hauling down a Toronto player on a breakaway. Of course, soon after that, Hilary Knight got a breakaway in the other direction, but Kessler absolutely stoned her. Toronto got a late power play, but nothing came of it, and the game went to overtime.

But OT didn’t take long. Thirty-three seconds in, Smith put a shot on net, Spooner tipped it, and the Furies won their first Clarkson Cup ever, 1-0.

More casually than an actual recap: damn, what a game. The CWHL generally isn’t the same level as the Olympics, and I’m not going to pretend it is. There’s more on the line in the Olympics, and the national teams are better funded. But the Clarkson Cup is the best of CWHl play, and the best of CWHL play is pretty damn good. Prevost was outstanding (and part of that OT goal); Ott, Kesser, Spooner, Bolden, and Knight were all outstanding. There are more players than that who contributed and had their moments to shine. Overall, it was just a great game of hockey to watch, and I’m glad I got to see it live. Last year’s Clarkson Cup game was televised late on TSN2 but not streamed anywhere, and I’m pretty sure the streaming this year is due to pressure from fans to have a way to watch it live. And it was definitely worth it. Tense hockey, great opportunities at both ends, evenly matched teams, and a dramatic, historic finish. What more could you want?

We’ll be back tomorrow with coverage of the women’s NCAA final. Until then, rest on your laurels, Furies. You earned it.

CWHL Weekend Roundup: Regular season wraps up with Calgary sweeping Brampton, and Boston sweeping Toronto.

CWHL Weekend Roundup: Regular season wraps up with Calgary sweeping Brampton, and Boston sweeping Toronto, looking forward to Clarkson Cup!

Quick wrap up of this weekend’s action: Friday, the Calgary Inferno won 4-3 over the Brampton Thunder in overtime. On Saturday, they won again 4-3, this time in regulation. Sunday, the Inferno won 4-0 over Brampton. This puts Calgary at 25 points for the season.

The other series this last weekend was Boston and Toronto. Tied for points at the start of the series, they were neck and neck for second place in the league. Then, on Saturday, Boston beat Toronto 4-2, taking the lead. On Sunday, Toronto had the chance to tie them up again, but lost in overtime, 4-3.

This weekend’s action gives us the following playoff group:

  1. Montreal Stars, with 42 points
  2. Boston Blades, with 26 points
  3. Calgary Inferno, with 25 points
  4. Toronto Furies, with 23 points.

The Clarkson Cup festivities will kick off today with an awards gala today, Tuesday March 18th. Prime Minister Harper will be speaking at this event. Some of the awards given out will include the Angela James Bowl, given for the season’s scoring leader. (That’s going to be going to Ann-Sophie Bettez of the Montreal Stars, with 40 points in 23 games.)

The games themselves start tomorrow, and will culminate in Saturday’s Championship Final. All the games EXCEPT the Final will be streamed live on the CWHL site; the Final will be shown on TSN, and from what I can tell, it won’t be live. If you’re able to get TSN, check your local listings. If you’re not, well. All of our inquiries as to if it’s going to be available anywhere else have been met with “we’re trying to work something out, we’ll let you know”, but who knows.

As for the match ups, we’re excited to see the Inferno in their first Clarkson Cup playoffs! Boston and Montreal, of course, are the previous winners (along with the now defunct Minnesota Whitecaps), and while Montreal has been the stronger team this season, hopefully the returning Olympians will kick Boston up that notch they need to win back to back Cups. Women’s Hockey Life has some more detailed predictions, and Women’s Hockey Stats has the predictions by the numbers, so check those out if you’re looking for more intense Cup predictions.

For our own off the cuff analysis, much as my underdog heart would love for Calgary to make it deep, Elena and I think it’s going to come down to Montreal and Boston again. We’re divided over the winner however– she says Boston, I’m thinking Montreal. Either way, it’s going to be fun.

Clarkson Cup Schedule:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Calgary Inferno vs. Toronto Furies @ 11:00am
Montreal Stars vs. Boston Blades @ 7:30pm

Thursday March 20, 2014
Boston Blades vs. Toronto Furies @ 11:00am
Montreal Stars vs. Calgary Inferno @ 7:30pm

Friday, March 21, 2014
Montreal Stars vs. Toronto Furies @ 11:00am
Boston Blades vs. Calgary Inferno @ 7:30pm

Saturday, March 22, 2014
Championship Final @ 2:00pm

CWHL Weekend Recap: Calgary wins series with Boston, Toronto drops four points to Montreal.

CWHL Weekend Recap: Calgary takes away two, drops one to Boston; Montreal beats Toronto for four points.

First off, some housekeeping. Sorry about missing the Weekend Preview; I was traveling, and apparently screwed up scheduling a post for Friday. It’s a little superfluous now, so I’m just not even going to post that. Also due to both Elena and I traveling, we’re not going to have up a streaming review for this last Sunday’s game; it’s very sad, I know.

Anyway, so there was a full slate of games for this weekend! We’re in the home stretch of the season, and things are starting to heat up as teams look to the playoffs. Just nine more games this season!

Things kicked off Friday with the Boston Blades coming to visit the Calgary Inferno for the first of three games this weekend. In the first game, Calgary beat Boston, 4-1. Neither team managed to convert on the power play, despite several opportunities on either side. The only goal for Boston came unassisted from Ashley Cottrell, her fourth of the season. For Calgary, Danielle Stone got a hat trick, her second of the season. (Her first, back in November, came in a 6-5 loss to Boston.) The other goal came from Abygail Laking, her third goal of the season.

On Saturday, Boston and Calgary met again– but this time, Boston came out triumphant, winning 5-1. Calgary’s only goal, by Julie Paetsch, came on a power play opportunity, of which they had many in this game. Boston got 28 minutes on 10 infractions, while Calgary got 10 minutes on 5 infractions. This was a noticeable uptick from last game for Boston, and included a game misconduct for Blake Bolden for contact to the head. Of Boston’s goals, Blake Bolden had an unassisted one in the first, then collected a quick trio of goals in the second from Kelly Cooke, a power play goal by Jillian Dempsey, and a penalty shot by Casey Pickett. The final goal by Boston came from Rachel Llanes in the third.

The other game for Saturday, Montreal vs Toronto, was canceled during the first period due to cooling issues with the rink ice. Instead of being rescheduled, Sunday’s game counted for four points instead of the normal two.

On Sunday, the final Calgary v. Boston game was played– and Calgary took it 4-2, winning two of the three game series. Calgary took the lead early, with two goals in the first period from Laura Dostaler and Danielle Stone. Rhianna Kurio of Calgary got the only goal in the second, and Jillian Dempsey finally got Boston on the board in the third, with a short-handed goal. Dru Burns of Boston quickly followed this up with her own goal, but it wasn’t enough for Boston, as Calgary’s Chelsea Purcell sunk another in the third to win 4-2. While Boston took less penalties this game, with 18 minutes on 5 infractions, one of those penalties was a notable ten minute gross misconduct for Digit Murphy, the Blades’ head coach, for unsportsmanlike conduct. It was coincidental with a two-minute bench minor on Boston’s Emma Rambo for unsportsmanlike conduct, so, uh, wonder what happened there.

The streaming game of the week on Sunday was the Montreal Stars vs the Toronto Furies, and like we said above, it counted for double points. Montreal took all four of them in a 3-2 victory. No one scored in the first, but Toronto got a quick goal in the second by Dominique Thibault, followed closely by a goal by Alyssa Baldin on the power play for Montreal. Montreal converted on 1 of 2 power play opportunities the entire game, while Toronto only got one goal on four opportunities. In the third, Toronto pulled ahead again with a goal by Jenelle Kohanckuk, but couldn’t hold the lead, as first Cathy Chartrand on the power play and then Dominique Thibault unassisted on even strength put Montreal up 3-2. You can check out the highlights for this game here, followed an interview with Montreal’s goaltender, Catherine Herron. There are also the period intermission interviews with Toronto’s Tessa Bonhomme and with Montreal’s Vanessa Davidson available.

So that’s the games for this last weekend! Quick note on the Olympians who left their CWHL teams: it sounds like they do intend to rejoin their CWHL teams, but most of them are handling publicity events, and may not be back with their teams until the end of the season and the start of the playoffs.

CWHL Weekend Round Up: Montreal sweeps Brampton, Boston and Toronto split series

CWHL Weekend Round Up: Montreal sweeps Brampton, Boston and Toronto split series.

We’ll be honest, our attention was mainly on the Olympic kickoff this weekend, but the CWHL was playing too!

Boston 3-2 Toronto, SO

First game this weekend was a shootout win for Boston over Toronto. First period had no goals despite a solid amount of shots on both sides; it also only had one penalty.

Second period, things started to pick up. Toronto picked up three penalties pretty quickly starting around the 4 minute mark, and on the last one, Jillian Dempsey got a power play goal (unassisted!) for Boston. Boston picked up another one shortly there after, scored by Alyssa Wohlfeiler, assisted by Rachel Llanes and Christie Jensen. On the only Boston penalty that period, Toronto picked up their first goal, scored by Alyssa Baldin, assisted by Kori Cheverie.

In the third period, despite a power play opportunity for Toronto midway through, Toronto trailed by one until 16:38 when Jessica Vella, assisted by Carolyne Prevost, scored to tie things up.

No one managed to score in overtime, despite a penalty on Boston for body checking, so the game went to a shoot out. In the first round of the shoot out, Kori Cheverie scored for Toronto and Casey Pickett for Boston, so they went to a second round– and Rachel Llanes scored for Boston, giving them the win.

Montreal 8-2 Brampton

Second game on Saturday was the weekend Streaming Game; we’ll have a full recap of that up soon. Montreal whooped Brampton, 8-2. Not really a surprise between the league leader and the last team in the league table.

Toronto 4-3 Boston

Sunday started with Toronto winning 4-3 over Boston, splitting the weekend series. Things started out pretty quickly, with Kori Cheverie getting a power play goal early on for Toronto. Boston responded with a goal by Dru Burns, and things were tied 1-1 until the last two minutes, when Julie Allen got an unassisted goal at 17:27 for Toronto. Boston tied it up again however, at 18:40, with a goal by Kate Buesser.

Things remained tied 2-2 all of the second period. On the penalty front, there was a bit of rough stuff around the 8 minute mark, but none of them resulted in a goal. In the third period, Jenelle Kohanckuk scored early on to make it 3-2 Toronto, and Katie Wilson added another shortly there after. Boston managed to eek out another goal by Blake Bolden on a late period power play, but it wasn’t enough to tie up the game.

Montreal 5-0 Brampton

Brampton brought the rough stuff in this game, giving Montreal 12 total power play opportunities this game– not a good idea against the best PP in the league.

Sarah Vaillancourt scored the only goal of the first period for Montreal, assisted by Cathy Chartrand. Dania Simmonds picked up the first penalty for Brampton late in the period, with a minor for roughing and a major and misconduct for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Brampton picked up more penalties in the second, which bit them in the ass when Cathy Chartrand picked up a goal of her own on the power play, with assists from Casandra Dupuis and Ann-Sophie Bettez. Another goal came on the power play for Montreal with a goal by Vanessa Davidson a minute later, assisted by Ann-Sophie Bettez and Sarah Vaillancourt. The final goal of the period, putting Brampton down 4-0, came from Fannie Desforges, assisted by Camille Dumais.
In the third period, Brampton continued to draw penalties and failed to capitalize on their own few power play opportunities. They managed to keep Montreal off the board until later in the period, but never managed to put any points of their own up. Cathy Chartrand capped things off for Montreal on another power play goal, assisted by Sarah Vaillancourt and Vanessa Davidson.

CWHL Weekend Roundup: Many games, much hockey, very wow.

 CWHL Weekend Roundup: Many game, much hockey, very wow.

SO MANY GAMES THIS WEEKEND! Sadly, yrs truly had family in town, so I didn’t get to catch as many as I wanted (but that Calgary radio is a nice addition, eh?) but it was nice to see the twitter updates! So, on to the CWHL weekend roundup!

Continue reading CWHL Weekend Roundup: Many games, much hockey, very wow.

CWHL Streaming Recap: Boston Blades at Toronto Furies

Welcome to another CWHL recap, this one of the streamed game from Toronto. Will Boston prevail and inch forward in the standings? Will Toronto grind them into the dust, as has been a common theme for Boston lately? I’m as excited as you are to find out!

Boston stumbles out of the gate, in the hole by a goal from Aarts less than five minutes in. Buesser gets a good change on a rush into Tortonto’s zone, but Sami Jo Small kicks it aside. After the whistle, things get a little rough. Never let it be said these players don’t care.

Play is a little disorganized, overall. Things only really pick up when either team manages to get a shot on goal, but there’s not exactly any flashy sniping going on.

A turnover leads to a Boston goal at 4:58; Boston’s still not playing that well (this appears to be a theme this year) but they do have some players who, when they get the puck, will go streaking down the ice without a second thought. It makes for an entertainingly instable game.

Whitney Naslund is back on the blue line for Boston; apparently, Boston’s coach, Murphy, put her there more or less because Boston needs puck-moving defense, even if Naslund doesn’t normally play defense. It’s an interesting strategy, but Boston’s still in the middle of the league, so they might as well try it.

There’s a flurry of movement in both ends midway through the first – lots of stretch passes and odd men rushes for both teams. Boston’s largely firing shots at Small’s crest, whereas Toronto’s making Ott scramble.

And, sure enough, at 11:43, Carolyne Prevost gets one past Ott. An attempted clear by Boston goes straight onto Prevost’s stick, and she makes Ott pay – it looks like five-hole, but I could be wrong. Either way, it’s a nifty bit of stickhandling; she makes Boston’s defense look silly.

Toronto takes a hooking call in their zone, but Toronto clears the puck almost right away, and spends a good amount of time in Boston’s zone. Bboston regroups but stumbles around their blue line, ending up passing the puck a LOT in their zone before finally entering Toronto’s zone. Are you getting that lack of organization is a big deal for these teams? It is. Boston finally gets a play set up, but Sami Jo Small ruins Boston’s scoring chance with a diving save. Toronto cleverly takes another penalty, giving Boston :23 of 5-on-3.

Boston’s power play is full of a little too much passing; the Furies collapse on the PK, crowding the goal mouth, and Boston’s passing appears to be an attempt to draw them out. In the end, though, they end up squandering shooting lanes in favor of one too many fancy passes, and Boston’s powerplay comes up empty.

In the dying minutes of the first, Rambo scores a goal for Boston that’s the opposite of what they’ve been trying to get – messy, right in the slot, backhanded past Small with no small (HAH) amount of effort. Boston’s got much more jump in their step after that, getting a couple good looks in Toronto’s zone before the period ends. In the final 60 seconds, Toronto puts it on Ott, causing a faceoff in Boston’s zone. Boston takes a dumb penalty with 13 seconds left in the period, a hooking penalty on Cottrell. Ott has to cover the puck with 4 seconds left to go, and at this point I’m wondering if this period is gonna be like Zeno’s paradox – but no, the period finally ends with the game tied.

Both teams come roaring out of the gate in the second period. Toronto gets an early goal, from Baldin to Wilson; Boston’s defense just kind of collapses, and doesn’t cover Wilson at all. Boston’s had some good flashes, but overall, they can’t really touch Toronto’s passing.

Boston takes a bad penalty right after Toronto’s goal, a penalty on Buesser for running Small. And just like that, it’s 4-2 Furies – a 3-on-1 for Toronto, a cross-ice pass, and Prevost scores.

Ott’s coming up big for Boston in the second, jumping on the puck when Toronto gets a scoring chance. Toronto takes a penalty, Wilson for slashing, so it’s another power play for Boston. On the power play, Boston is once again passing too much, not getting many shots on Small at all.

It’s worth saying, Prevost has been a massive presence in this game so far. She’s constantly pickpocketing Boston players, especially in the neutral zone.

Wilson gets a breakaway at the end of Boston’s powerplay, and very nearly puts one past Ott, but the post helps Ott out a little and she dives to attempt to cover the puck. Excitement! Desperation from Boston! They’re in enough of a hole to warrant it.

The announcers are talking about Boston’s need for defense and, well, yes. It’s not great. Though I’d argue a bigger problem is that Boston’s defense is absent AND their offense just isn’t there.

In the last half of the second, Boston’s spending a lot of time in Toronto’s zone, but they’re not really getting much traction. The announcers go off on a massive tangent about Prevost and I can’t even be mad, because nothing much is really happening – Boston’s offense can’t get anything set up.

Early on, Boston’s got a lot of momentum – Toronto is largely playing a defensive game, not taking any risks. But again, Boston’s having trouble just putting shots on net. For all that the game is very north-and-south, Sami Jo Small doesn’t have that much work to do.

Both Zamora sisters end up in the box, Kelly Zamora serving one of Kristy Zamora’s two penalties – a minor for head conduct, and a 10-minute misconduct on top of that. But Boston doesn’t do much of anything with it.

The announcers go off on a tangent about how Shannon Moulson for Toronto is related to Matt Moulson. Man, why do women’s hockey announcers always do this? For many, many reasons, I don’t care about Matt Moulson. Tell me about how Shannon Moulson plays the game.

Boston gets a lot of scoring chances late in the third, finally putting shots on Small, cycling in Toronto’s zone. They’ve got Toronto chasing the puck, one of those flashes of competence that Boston tends to show before the other team beats them soundly.

But it’s all for nothing – Ott can’t cover the puck on a rush from Toronto, and Cheverie gets one past her on a rebound.

Right after that goal, Ott has another huge save on Aarts. Most of Boston looks defeated, but Ott is still hanging in there, as usual.

And just like that, the game’s over. Toronto wins, 5-2. Rough for Boston, but at least it was an exciting game. IMP OUT.

CWHL Weekend Recap: Boston and Brampton split

Only two games happened in the CWHL this weekend, both between Boston and Brampton. I recapped Brampton whaling on Boston (on the scoreboard and also with slashes, hits from behind, and whatnot) here, but on Sunday Boston got some of their own back, beating Brampton 5-0. Having watched the Saturday game, I have to say, I am pretty glad Boston got Ott a shutout.

Boston opened the scoring at 9:38 with a goal from Bolden, assists from Koizumi and Buesser. Aside from a slashing penalty by Boston’s Pickett at 18:53, the teams behaved themselves in the first.

In the second period, the Blades scored twice, opening the period with a Koizumi goal at 3:11. Brampton’s Grey took an interference penalty at 15:24, but Boston failed to capitalize on the power play. Naslund of the Blades took a tripping penalty at 18:23, and Brampton’s French took a kneeing penalty at 18:55. All of this culminated in Boston’s third goal, at 19:28 – Burns scored it on assists from Dempsey and Koizumi.

The third period also saw two goals, the first being a Koizumi tally at 0:17, assisted by Buesser and Bolden. Bolden took a dreaded DOG penalty at 3:11, but (obviously) Brampton’s power play game up empty. Or what they had of one, anyway – at 3:48, Brampton’s Jana Head took a hooking penalty. Scoring was quiet through Koizumi taking a slashing penalty at 5:58, but Boston scored their final goal at 13:04 – Cottrell, assisted by Rambo and Jensen. Boston acted up again at 18:06, a slashing penalty by Cooke, but in the end, Ott still got the shutout.

Does anyone get the feeling these teams might not like sharing the bottom of the barrel? At the end, Brampton remains at the bottom of the league, and Boston jumps to 3rd.

There are five games next weekend, so expect a lengthier recap then. Until then, we’ll have some Olympics coverage for you to chew on. (USA! USA! USA!)

Brampton Thunder v Boston Blades: Jan 25 CWHL Streaming Game Recap

Brampton comes into this game at the bottom of the league, despite having lost considerably fewer of their players than Boston or Montreal. Boston’s near the bottom of the league, with 12 points coming into the game. The last game I watched, they were second in the league. How the tables do turn in a league as young as this! I’ll fetch my cane.

Brampton gets a power play early, after pressing Boston in their zone. Boston has a shorthanded opportunity from Dempsey, but Brampton scores by committee soon after the power play expires, at 4:34, with the goal being credited to Boudreau. Overall, Boston’s defense is somewhat lacking early on.

This is one of just a handful of games I’ve seen Brampton in, and they’re interesting to watch. They’re not particularly flashy, and they definitely play a very group-oriented game, but they gain the zone with efficiency, keeping the game out of the neutral zone for the most part.

Brampton gets another power play on a Duggan penalty. Nothing much arises from it, and Boston gets some momentum back in the last half of the first, getting an odd man rush and spending some time in Brampton’s zone. For all that they have a couple scoring opportunities, they’re pretty hesitant with the puck, and no one’s putting pucks on the net with any particular degree of accuracy. Brampton is definitely the more dynamic team so far, even as Boston starts getting a bit of their own back.

The pace picks up as the game goes on, with more board battles and way more SOG in the last five minutes of the first period. With just over 3 minutes left, Boston rushes into Brampton’s zone, but they don’t manage to sustain any pressure. Dempsey nearly manages to pass for a tap-in, but the puck misses its target, and Brampton carries it back into Boston’s zone. Dempsey is fun to watch, dynamic and decisive.

At 17:33 in the first, the Blades get a power play. For all that they’re the worse team coming into this game, their power play involves a lot more shooting than Brampton’s, and they make it difficult for Brampton to clear. At the end, though, they come up empty.

Play in the second is a lot more even, with Boston getting a lot of chances early. But at 11:26 in the second, Bramptson scores again, on the power play, capitalizing on a total defensive breakdown by Boston. Boston’s chasing the puck after that, nearly giving up another goal just a couple minutes later.

The announcers give some time to talking about how many players Boston’s lost, which is kind of an obvious thing to talk about, even if the coaches are refraining from whining about it.

Late in the second, van der Bliek finally has some work, but Boston’s transition game bites them in the ass, and Brampton gets their third goal late from Skirrow. Boston’s getting more daring as the game goes on, but it’s not a coincidence that Brampton’s scored twice in the second period; for all that Boston is getting more creative, they’re also playing a riskier game. Brampton is more together overall; their goaltender is showing up, their defense is keeping Boston from spending a lot of time in their zone, and their neutral zone play is miles above Boston’s.

Boston narrows Brampton’s lead to 2 on a sweet play early in the third, driven by a pass from Dempsey. Suddenly I’m more engaged in the game – especially since it was a power play goal. A lot of women’s hockey announcers talk about not wanting games to be decided by special teams (code for “let the girls play”, usually), but special teams are interesting to me because they really highlight the way women’s hockey is developing and the advancement of actual, coherent systems within the CWHL.

Brampton’s still up by 2, but they hand the Blades two power plays in rapid succession. They’re not the most disciplined team in the world. And Boston makes them pay – Dempsey scores from the side of the goal, tapping in a pass from the blue line. For a hot minute it looks like the Blades might tie it up, but Brampton scores almost immediately after winning a faceoff in Boston’s zone. Ott is working her ass off, but there’s not a lot you can do if you’re being screened by 3 Brampton players.

Boston gets a nice scrum going in front of Brampton’s goal, but the play is whistled dead, even as Boston tries to get another shot on van der Bliek. Boston’s lost the momentum as easily as they gained it; after that play being whistled dead, Buesser takes a penalty, putting Brampton on the power play, and taking herself out of the game for the remainder of the third.

An insane play midway through the third, with a breakaway by Boston’s Cottrell, catching van der Bliek out of the net, diving to the ice, and nearly poking it in. Unfortunately, the puck didn’t go, because Brampton has defense or something. They stay up by 2 with 9 minutes to go.

Brampton hands Boston a power play and then a 5-on-3, the latter call being a check from behind. And then Brampton takes another penalty – in an effort to make things more interesting for themselves? Who knows. But people in the audience are heckling the refs, which is actually kind of refreshing.
In the last minute of the third, Boston crashes the net and scores. van der Bliek does her best, but there just aren’t enough Brampton players on the ice to stop Boston from capitalizing. The pace of this game has swung wildly between teams, and between being low-key and intense, so part of me is glad when there’s a time-out with 43 seconds to go.

In the end, though, Brampton pulls out a win, 4-3. – but not before van der Bliek gets an unsportsmanlike penalty. You go, angry rookie goalie. You go.

CWHL Weekend Recap: Calgary, Montreal Sweep the Weekend Series

Sorry about the delay in getting this up, guys! Of the two of us, one of us had bronchitis, and the other had epic travel issues. But, better late than never.

CWHL Weekend Recap:

This weekend’s CWHL Streaming Game was Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win by Calgary over Brampton. Our write-up on this game will be up a bit later, and I’ll edit this post with a link then.

Saturday’s other game was a Montreal Stars v Boston Blades match up that ended 7-4 in Montreal’s favour.

There’s a history of rivalry between the two clubs who last year finished first and second in the league, and battled it out for the Clarkson Cup. Both lost key parts to the Olympic teams, and unfortunately, Montreal seems to be rebounding better than Boston, who have had a somewhat rocky season so far. They currently stand at fourth place in the league with 12 points in 11 games, while Montreal is in first with 23 in 13. There’s still time of course to recover, but I’ll be watching them carefully. Anyway, back to Saturday’s game.

Montreal opened the scoring very quickly, with a goal by Vanessa Davidson at :36 into the first period. Fannie Desforges followed it up with another goal for Montreal at 5:06, but Boston quickly responded, with a goal by Ashley Cottrell a minute later. Alyssa Wohlfeiler closed out the period’s scoring with another goal for Boston at 16:52. Montreal got one powerplay chance off a two-minute minor for Jillian Dempsey’s delay of game, but could not convert it into a goal.

The second period opened with a goal by Dempsey for Toronto at 3:30 shortly after a Montreal powerplay expired, but Ann-Sophie Bettez tied it up again shortly there after, until Dominique Thibault got the go-ahead goal unassisted for Montreal. Montreal picked it up in the third, with first Sarah Vaillancourt scoring a goal to go with her two earlier assists, then Ann-Sophie Bettez scoring a short-handed goal. Boston’s Rachel Llanes managed to get a goal later in the period, but it wasn’t enough. Bettez scored an empty net goal unassisted for her third goal of the game in the final minute of the game.

The third period was also the most physical for Montreal, with 8 PIM on three players, whereas they had taken no penalties in the previous periods. Brittany Ott made 39 saves on 45 shots for Toronto, while Catherine Herron made 28 saves on 32 shots. Ann-Sophie Bettez and Sarah Vaillancourt got first and second star for Montreal, while Jillian Dempsey got the third star for Boston.

On Sunday, Boston and Montreal met again, and Montreal walked away with a win 6-2 and a sweep in the weekend’s series. Boston started the game strong, holding Montreal off the score sheet and scoring two goals towards the end of the period. The first by Jillian Dempsey came at 15:35, and the second, short-handed, came at 18:07.

The second period, however, Montreal picked up four goals. Sarah Vaillancourt picked up the first in the first two minutes of the game, and then scored unassisted a few minutes later. Then Ann-Sophie Bettez picked up another two, the first assisted by Vaillancourt, and the second by Virginie Bouetz-Andrieu and Catherine Herron.

In the third, Montreal finished things out with two more goals scored fairly early on in the period, first by Fannie Desforges (assisted by Vaillancourt) and the second by Dominique Thibault (also assisted by Vaillancourt).  Overall, Montreal outshot Boston 49-34, but Boston did manage to keep Montreal from converting any of their power play opportunities into goals. Sarah Vaillancourt picked up first star of the game with five points, two goals and three assists. Ann-Sophie Bettez got the second star, with two goals. Catherine Herron got the final star, with 22 saves on 24 shots.

The other game on Sunday was a rematch between the Calgary Inferno and the Brampton Thunder. Calgary took it handily, winning 5-1.  Calgary opened the scoring with two goals early in the first, one scored by Erin Duggan at 3:00, the second by Julie Paetsch at 6:01. Calgary continued in the second with a third goal by Danielle Stone, who had earlier assisted on Paetsch’s second period goal.

The third period got a bit rough. Calgary got another goal early on in the period, another by Paetsch, but towards the 15 minute mark, Brampton picked up three penalties in short order, including a minor for head conduct on Laura MacIntosh, who also got a ten minute major and a game misconduct for head contact. Brampton’s Danielle Bourdeau also got a game misconduct and a ten minute major for unsportsmanlike conduct. Calgary then got another goal on the powerplay, scored by Emily Berzins. In the dying minutes of the game, Lindsey Vine got the only goal for Brampton, on a powerplay generated by Calgary’s Kelsey Webster, who got a minor for body checking.

Despite the end result, Calgary only managed to score on one of their seven powerplays, which bodes well for Brampton’s penalty kill. Shots were not as outsizedly different as the final score, with 24 shots for Brampton and 37 shots for Calgary. Delayne Brian, the goaltender for Calgary, got the first star of the game, with Julie Paetsch, and her two goal for Calgary, got the second star, and Lindsey Vine, who scored the sole goal for Brampton, getting the third star.