Welcome to Inferno Alphabet Soup, a acronym analysis for the Canadian Women’s Hockey League’s Calgary Inferno!
This week we have a look back at Week 12, as the Inferno returned home from their ten-day China trip to host the Boston Blades!
I- Ice To See You!
This series was the Inferno’s final pair of home games for the 2017-2018 campaign, hosting both games at Winsport Arena A. Heading in, CGY had only dropped two games on home ice in the entire season (to cursed rival, Les Canadiennes de Montreal, of course) and kept that streak going with these last two contests. Saturday included some sendoff festivities, including free Gelato (how did I miss that?!), and the special You Can Play alternate sweaters. The remaining four games in two series are off on the road, and although the Inferno have already clinched a playoff birth, securing a top-two seed would get them home ice in the Clarkson Cup Playoffs and another round of home ice action!
F- FIRE AWAY!
Game 1 was an high-speed train of Inferno offense! Calgary racked up 51 shots on Blades goaltender Lauren Dahm, including a 25 shot second period. There were 15 points spread between CGY players, with Iya Gavrilova (who was also 2nd Star and a +3), Kennedy Brown, and Katelyn Gosling registering multi-point contests with two points each. Delayne Brian picked up her 7th win in 8 starts, and appears back to form since returning from injury. She stopped 20 of 22 shots faced from the Blades in a 6-2 final score.
N- No Way!
The final shot count in Game 2 was similar to Game 1, as it ended at 43-12 for the Inferno. The score clock was a different tale, though, as after 40 minutes SOG were 28-11, but the score was 3-0 Blades! Boston’s starting goalie Amanda Carridi earned herself 3rd Star of the night for her efforts holding back the Inferno, but it didn’t last forever. Cue the comeback! A powerplay marker at 7:31 (Sophie Shirley from Kromm and Kurrio) and an even strength tally at 10:20 (Britt Fouracres from Gardner) made it 2-2 at the halfway point of the third! The Blades’ Taylor Wasylk took an untimely tripping minor at 14:20, and 61 seconds later the Inferno would notch a PP goal (Brittany Esposito from Gavrilova and Warren) to tie the game at 3! The Sunday heroics came with less than a minute left, as Katelyn Gosling (from Fouracres and Gavrilova) found the back of the net with FOURTY FIVE SECONDS remaining for the thrilling winner! Gosling picked up 1st Star Of The Game for grabbing the big victory for her squad.
E- Espo & Iva, At It Again
The beat goes on for Calgary’s dynamic duo on the offensive end. Brittany Esposito and Iva Gavrilova still sit 1st and 2nd in the team lead for scoring, which leaves them at 11th & 13th in the CWHL overall. A four point weekend for Gavrilova now sees her one point back of Esposito. With four games remaining in the regular season sched, it’ll be a fun race to see who winds up on top.
Esposito -24 P 16G, 8A, +8, 1.14 PPG
Gavrilova -23 P 6G, 17A, +17, 0.96 PPG
Speaking of the You Can Play game, the slick threads turned heads all day in Game 1.
The game-worn and autographed sweaters are currently up for auction at calgary.thecwhl.com and Sunday March 4th is the last day to bid!
N- Not Now...
Calgary found itself in a bit of a goaltending controversy early in Game 2, as rookie goalie Lindsey Post saw the start. However, after allowing one goal on two shots, Post got the hook from head coach Tomas Pacina at 6:16. She was replaced by Delayne Brian, who went on to pick up the W. It was an early and certainly questionable decision from Pacina. Post has put up a stellar campaign, to this point, and you can read more on that in the Inferno Spotlight. Adding to that, the Inferno have been riding a three-goalie system this year, and rookie Toni Ross has now gone four games without seeing a start in the crease. Contrast that to now seeing Brian play almost 114 minutes over the weekend. One can’t help but wonder if the decision to pull Post from the game has something to do with looking towards the playoffs. Delayne Brian is certainly the goaltending incumbent, and former Clarkson Cup Finals MVP, and maybe Pacina is looking to get her going down the stretch. It’s still no excuse to yank the rug out from under Lindsey Post at this time of the year, especially coming off her third CWHL Goalie Of The Week nod. It’s not exactly the time of year for snap decisions, but we’ll wait and see how this plays out over the next two weekends.
O- On To The Next
Calgary’s remaining series’ are against the Markham Thunder (March 3rd & 4th) and Les Canadiennes de Montreal (March 10th 7 11th). The Thunder and Vanke Rays are in a tight competition for the last Clarkson Cup playoff spot, and we don’t need to overstate the big time implications for the series against rival Montreal. All four contests will be big deciding factors in who winds up with home ice for the playoffs.
Keep it locked to Matchsticks & Gasoline as we follow our Ladies In Red down the home stretch!