Having swept last weekend’s series against the defending Clarkson Cup Champions Markham Thunder in Ontario, the Inferno were ready to head home to friendly Albertan confines. This weekend’s matchups were against the visiting Toronto Furies, and Calgary looked to maintain it’s hold on first place overall in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. Let’s take a look back at the action!
GAME 1: CGY 4, TOR 1
Saturday’s game at Winsport saw the return of the annual “Start The Spark” game for youth mental health awareness, featuring special purple alternate jerseys for the Inferno and fundraising for the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Center (more on this special game in News & Notes below).
Despite getting into some first period penalty trouble, the Inferno delighted the home crowd by opening the scoring just shy of 14 minutes into the opening frame! Coming into the weekend leading the team in goals, Brianne Jenner continued her scoring touch and put Calgary up 1-0 at 13:58. They would take that lead into the 2nd period, and it turned into an onslaught for the purple squad! As part of a 22 shot period, Kelty Apperson made it 2-0 at the halfway mark, and on the powerplay in the final minute Kacey Bellamy would pad that lead to 3-0. Katelyn Gosling would then add a tip-in marker late in the third for the insurmountable 4-0 lead. Although the Furies’ Renata Fast would break the shutout and get Toronto on the board at 17:15 of the final stanza, it was too little too late for the visiting side. With a dominant 54 shot performance, the Inferno sent the Start The Spark Game into the record books with all smiles and a W!
GAME 2: TOR 3, CGY 0
Sunday’s game saw the Inferno continuing their home-away-from-home games (more on that in Up Next section below), as it was held at the Pason Centennial Arena in Okotoks. Members of the Okotoks Bantam Greens team participated as warmup skaters, and Okotoks Minor Hockey Association members were on hand for the ceremonial puck drop.
Despite a chance with the powerplay midway through the opening 20 minutes, the Inferno were unable to open the scoring this time around. Both teams went into the second frame looking to crack the 0-0 deadlock, and it was the Furies that would get there first. Renata Fast would notch Toronto’s first goal with her second one of the weekend, putting the visitors up 1-0 at 10:30 of the 2nd. The score remained that way, as the Furies were outshooting the home side 20-15 through 40 minutes and quickly took advantage in the final stanza. Just a mere fourteen seconds into the 3rd, Toronto went up 2-0 on a Shannon Stewart goal assisted by Natalie Spooner. With just under four minutes to play, Spooner would add a goal of her own for a 3-0 lead. Calgary outshot TOR 14-6 in the 3rd, but even with the goaltender pulled in the final minute were unable to solve Furies’ goalie Elaine Chuli as she eventually posted the win and the shutout, along with First Star honors for her 29 save performance.
Although she was held off the scoresheet with the rest of the team on Sunday, Brianne Jenner’s Saturday goal gives her four goals over the last two weekends. This keeps her in the team lead in goals, and also elevates her to 5th overall in lead scoring. Team Captain and scoring leader Rebecca Johnston continues her 1.50 Points Per Game pace, sitting at third place in CWHL scoring for the seventh consecutive weekend this season. She is currently only behind Les Canadiennes de Montreal’s dynamic duo of Ann-Sophie Bettez and Marie-Philip Poulin.
We had a change in up the creases this weekend, as Alex Rigsby got a break from her team leading 12 starts on the season. Returning sophomore netminder Lindsey Post got the start in the Sunday game. This was Post’s first start of the 2018-2019 season, as she turned aside 26 of 29 shots faced. You can read more on Lindsey’s history and her rookie season in our Inferno Spotlight: Lindsey Post piece from her time with the Inferno last campaign. Annie Belanger got the nod on Saturday, and came into the weekend with six games played collecting five wins and three shutouts. Although she was close to another SO, the W now moves her up to 6 on the year in her supporting role. The small sample size has helped statistically, as she currently sits best overall in the CWHL in GAA and SV%, as well as tied for the lead league in shutouts with Montreal’s Emerance Maschmeyer.
Toronto’s been pesky, as this was Calgary’s first loss since December 15th which was also when they were hosting the Furies. That was also a home-away-from-home game, hosted in Red Deer. The Furies sure like to spoil the party. Even with giving up two points, CGY is 7-2-0-1 in their past ten, remaining ahead of Les Canadiennes de Montreal by two points in the race for first place. They’ve also dropped back to least penalized team in the league, sitting on 134 PIMs for the year, just shy of the Shenzen KRS Vanke Rays who have 136.
News & Notes:
- As part of the Start The Spark fundraising initiative, the team is auctioning off their game worn purple alternate sweaters from Saturday’s contest. In addition to being game used, each piece comes autographed by it’s specific Inferno player. Having purchased a pair from last year’s auctions, I can absolutely say they’re worth it, and of course the funds go to a great cause. The sweaters are being auctioned through eBay and you can find the link below:
- Start The Spark Jersey Auction
We're so grateful to be beneficiaries of this weekend's #StartTheSpark @InfernoCWHL game. If you missed out on the action, you can still bid on one of the SIGNED game-worn jerseys here: https://t.co/MvTv9tH05f #ChildAdvocacy #ChildAbuse #MondayMotivation pic.twitter.com/XLxdLgwkHn— SheldonKennedyCAC (@skcac) January 14, 2019
The Inferno are off this weekend as the CWHL sets for it’s All-Star Game break. The squad is sending a league-best 9 players to the festivities for the January 20th game in Toronto. CGY will reunite after the ASG for a special mid-week game on Tuesday the 22nd, as Calgary will host the Shenzen KRS Vanke Rays at Crowchild Twin Arenas in Calgary. This will be the continuation of the “home away from home” series the Inferno have been participating in this season, hosting games in different sites in and around the Calgary area to grow awareness and support of women’s hockey. Games have already been hosted in Cochrane and Red Deer, and this past Sunday in Okotoks, and Calgary has a 2 wins and 1 loss record in those three games. The Inferno will return to full-time action on the weekend of February 2nd-3rd as they’ll travel to face their rival Canadiennes de Montreal in a showdown for first place! Check back with M&G to keep tabs on all the updates for our Ladies In Red!