The Calgary Inferno clinched a playoff spot last week (!!!) but it seems like home-ice may be unlikely. In case you’re not sure how the playoff format works in the CWHL, the top four teams make the playoffs with just the top two teams getting home-ice. The first round is played in a best of three then the Clarkson Cup, which is March 25th, is a one-game winner takes all.
Currently, Les Canadiennes and the Kunlun Red Star are tied in wins, losses, and points for that first place spot. They each have 41 points in 26 games. The Inferno are close behind with 38 points in 26 games.In a fight for home-ice, the Inferno, unfortunately, couldn’t come out on top this weekend over the Markham Thunder and lost both games in regulation. This weekend, the Inferno also welcomed back two of their nine teammates playing for Team Canada at the Olympics. Brianne Jenner and Blayre Turnbull have rejoined the team but they didn’t get the welcome-back win they hoped for. The Thunder are also fighting for their lives right now in a battle for the fourth and final playoff spot, so I guess they needed that win just a little bit more.
The Thunder currently hold that fourth place spot with 31 points in 26 games. The Vanke Rays are close behind with 27 points in 26 games and have more wins. If all goes right for the Rays, if they win their next two games and the Thunder lose both in regulation, the Rays will be that fourth and final team. Meaning the two new China teams this season will make the playoffs in their inaugural seasons. Golden Knights who?
The Inferno have one more weekend series left against Les Canadiennes for a Clarkson Cup rematch. These two teams have met each other the last two Clarkson Cups where they took turns lifting up the Cup. But since last season, for some reason, the Inferno just can’t seem to win against the defending champs.
After their weekend series loss to Les Canadiennes in January, GM Kristen Hagg casually mentioned “I don’t know what it is, but we can just not win against Montreal in the regular season.”
A clinch is exciting for this club since they were the underdogs heading into the season with losing 11 players to the Olympics. But they’re not done yet.