After clinching the Chairman’s Trophy as the CWHL’s best regular season team, the Calgary Inferno stormed into the Clarkson Cup playoffs to host the Toronto Furies this weekend!
In case you missed it, we took a deeper look at the series’ tale-of-the-tape in our Inferno Playoff Preview last week. The Best Of Three series wound up going the distance for the right to make it to the finals, so let’s take a look back at the action!
GAME 1: TOR 3, CGY 1
In four of their six meetings this season the Inferno came away victorious, which was not entirely unexpected considering the nineteen point deficit between the two clubs. And speaking of deficits, in their four wins Calgary outscored the Furies by a whopping 20-7 margin overall. The saving grace from Toronto’s side of things is that in the two victories they managed were both on the road, and that was the mindset the Furies needed to bring into this series as the road team at Winsport. Despite outshooting TOR 34-18 over the course of the game, and taking the 1-0 lead early in the 2nd, things quickly turned on the Inferno. The Furies’ Natalie Spooner tied the game 1-1 at 9:08 of the 2nd frame, and a rash of CGY penalties then spelled trouble. TOR’s Spooner again found the back of the net with a powerplay marker to grab the 2-1 lead at 12:21, and the Inferno rounded out the frame with three straight minor penalties capped off by a game misconduct for Brigette Lacquette for boarding. Despite penalty problems of their own in the 3rd, the Furies would pull out the W as Sarah Nurse scored with 37 seconds left for the 1-0 series lead.
GAME 2: CGY 3, TOR 0
Scoreless through the first two periods, this one again saw the Inferno carrying the shots advantage 12-6 through 40 minutes. Captain Rebecca Johnston finally broke through in the 3rd at the mark 4:55 solving Furies goalie Shea Tiley!
.@RJohnst6 TIPS HOME THE OPENING GOAL!!!!! @kbells22's point shot is tipped in front by Johnston and the @InfernoCWHL have finally cracked Tiley to take the 1-0 #CWHL #RoadtoClarkson pic.twitter.com/dQ5zyAvEFr— Women's Sports Highlights (@WSportHilites) March 10, 2019
Blayre Turnbull would add the 2-0 insurance marker, and Brianne Jenner would notch one mroe for good measure into the Furies empty net with three seconds left! After taking the loss in Game 1, Calgary netminder Alex Rigsby bounced back in the rematch to grab a 13 save shutout victory as the Inferno would force a third and deciding game!
GAME 3: CGY 4, TOR 1
After exchanging goals (Brianna Decker in the final minute of the 1st for CGY, Carolyne Prevost for TOR five minutes into the 2nd), things looked like we were in for a tight final game. But, at 17:20 of the middle frame, a goalmouth tip from CGY leading goal-scorer Brianne Jenner grabbed the lead for the home team with her 3rd goal of the series!
Halfway through the third, Brianna Decker would grab her second of the game to make it 3-1, and despite a powerplay and empty net for the Furies late, Kacey Bellamy would rack up the rare empty net short handed goal to ice the win just inside the final two minutes! The Inferno officially have earned their third Clarkson Cup Finals appearance in four years!
After storming back from the series deficit, the Inferno will definitely be heading into the finals on a high note. There is a bye-week before the winner-take-all finals game, so the matchup won’t be held until Sunday, March 24th. Calgary’ll be matched up against longtime rival Les Canadiennes de Montreal, as they dispatched the defending champions Markham Thunder in their bracket. The game will be hosted at a neutral site, at the Coca-Cola Coliseum in Toronto, and will be broadcast coast-to-coast on Sportsnet.
CGY and MTL finished 1-2 in the standings this season and have built a storied rivalry that has very much come to define the CWHL in the past few seasons, including back-to-back Clarkson Cup matchups in 2016 and 2017, with each team victorious once.
Keep locked to Matchsticks & Gasoline in the coming weeks as we cheer on our Ladies In Red and head down the #RoadToClarkson!