Returning from the CWHL All-Star break, the Inferno reunited and took to the ice to host the Shenzen KRS Vanke Rays in a rare mid-week matchup on Tuesday! Let’s take a look back at the action!
CGY 5, KRS 2
The visiting squad from Shenzen, China was finishing up their overseas road trip with this game. The team has spent a month in North America doing their road swings across the CWHL, and the Inferno will return the favour from February 20th to 23rd as they travel to China for three games that will close out Calgary’s regular season schedule.
Continuing their “home away from home” hosting duties, Tuesday’s contest was hosted at the Crowchild Twin Arenas.
Despite only putting six shots on Inferno netminder Alex Rigsby, the KRS Vanke Rays were opportunistic on their first period chances. Stephanie Anderson opened the scoring at 8:34 to put the visitors up 1-0. Less than five minutes later, Calgary answered back on a tally from Brianne Decker with assists to Brigette Lacquette and Halli Krzyzaniak to knot things up at one a piece. Late in the first, Hannah Miller would score again for Shenzen to take the lead 2-1 off 6 total SOG for her squad compared to the Inferno’s 13. In the second frame, KRS found themselves hemmed in under a total of eight minutes shorthanded time. Just 3:24 into the period, Zoe Hickel would take advantage with a powerplay goal to tie the game. Just 34 seconds later, Brianne Jenner buried another one to make it 3-2, and Rebecca Leslie padded the lead at 14:02 as the team would close out 40 minutes at a 4-2 score. Shenzen upped their offense in the final frame, managing 13 shots on Alex Rigsby after only 13 combined shots in the first two periods (three Inferno penalties to none for KRS helped that SOG count). Rigsby was however, up to the task, and although KRS pulled their netminder Kimberley Newell for the extra attacker, Kacey Bellamy iced it for the Inferno with just over 2:00 left in regulation.
With the pair of points, the Calgary Inferno have now officially clinched a Clarkson Cup Playoffs spot!
After seven consecutive weekends in third place of league scoring, Inferno Captain Rebecca Johnston has at last leap-frogged Montreal’s Ann-Sophie Bettez! Scoring at a 1.52 PPG pace, she now sits three points back of another Montrealer, Marie-Philip Poulin, for first overall. With the Inferno team lead in goals by two over her captain, Brianne Jenner still sits in the top five as well, and the pair are joined by Rebecca Leslie whose 1G 1A game on Tuesday has launched her into the top ten at the Number Eight spot.
With another start for goalie Alex Rigsby, that puts her up to 13 on the season as she continues to lead the charge in the blue paint. Between Rigsby and Belanger, they both sit 1st and 3rd league-wide in GAA and SV% numbers.
With CWHL’s best penalty kill at 77.3% and the league’s second lowest PIM tally at 144 minutes, special teams has been a big part of Calgary’s success this year. They’re not only clinched for the postseason, but also sit on a somewhat comfortable four point lead over rival Les Canadiennes de Montreal.
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! A Montreal sweep would tie them for first place and home ice advantage, so it’s a massive series in La Belle Province! Check back with M&G to keep tabs on all the updates for our Ladies In Red!