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Inferno come back from weekend sweep to Les Canadiennes, score 14 goals

After a disappointing weekend series sweep to Les Canadiennes, the Inferno came back strong vs. the Vanke Rays.

Well, it was quite the disappointment losing to Les Canadiennes in their last weekend series. They lost the first game in a shootout and the second in a shutout — their first regulation loss of the season.

With a Clarkson Cup rematch, the Inferno were somewhat disheartened about the outcome. The locker room was very hostile and it was quite awkward getting player interviews, but I put on my big girl pants, got a couple quotes, then quickly ran away.

But this weekend went much better. The Inferno were third place in the CWHL heading into this weekend behind Les Canadiennes and the Kunlun Red Star and needed to climb their way back up to that top spot.

Saturday’s game went better than they expected. They had a game plan of sticking to their system and generating as many scoring chances as they could. Delayne Brian returned from injury after 11 and a half weeks off and got the nod between the pipes.

After the first period, the Inferno were up 2-1 over the Rays, with Inferno goals coming from Brittany Esposito and Iya Gavrilova and a breakaway goal from Rays’ Brooke Webster.

Esposito then opened up the second period scoring with a powerplay goal. But the Inferno didn’t stop there. They scored three more goals in less than four minutes with another one from Espo, one from Louise Warren, and one from Dakota Woodworth. The Inferno now lead 5-1 before the midway mark of the second period and that’s a hat trick for Espo! Her first ever CWHL hat trick and she became the fifth Inferno player to record three goals in a game.

Kelty Apperson, Kelly Murray, and Brooke Webster all scored goals in the second period as well and the Inferno led 8-2 after two periods of play.

Espo scored her fourth goal of the game in the third period and the Inferno ended up winning this game 10-3. Brittney Fouracres also scored a goal in the third which was her first ever CWHL goal. Lauren Kelly scored the lone third-period goal for the Rays. The 10 goals scored by the Inferno was the highest amount of goals in a game so far this season and the seven-goal differential was also the highest differential this season.

Let’s check out Sunday’s game.

In the first period, Rhianna Kurio scored just three minutes in on the powerplay. 1:30 later and she scored again. In the second and third period, Katelyn Gosling and Iya Gavrilova scored for the Inferno. The Inferno took three penalties in the third but managed to hold the Rays off. The game finished 4-0.

“I think just kind of sticking to our system, getting back to that.” Said Kurio. “I think we just had a few more bounces this weekend, I think we had a lot of chances last weekend and we just couldn’t put it in the net. Yeah, the bounces just kind of went our way this weekend.”

Lindsey Post saved all 24 shots she faced to record her second shutout of the season and second career shutout. Kurio’s two goals were her first multi-goal game of her CWHL career and she’s already surpassed her season-high of five goals back in 2014-15. She has eight goals in 16 games so far for second place on the team after Brittany Esposito.

“Yeah, [the biggest change] is probably the coaching.” Said Kurio. “His style of play kind of suits mine and his team systems kind of allowed me to score some goals and get some opportunities.”

The Inferno are now just one point back from both Les Canadiennes and the Kunlun Red Star but have games on hand for both those teams. The Inferno’s next weekend series will be against the Toronto Furies this upcoming weekend, with Saturday’s game being the first of three CWHL games broadcasted on Sportsnet.