It’s been a long #RoadToClarkson but in the final CWHL game of the season, the Calgary Inferno faced off this morning in the winner-take-all Clarkson Cup game!
Les Canadiennes’ skater Marie-Philip Poulin led the league in points in the regular season, but was a gametime decision for this contest and did not compete. In goal, CWHL Goaltender Of The Year winner Alex Rigsby took the net for Calgary against Montreal’s Emerance Maschmeyer.
Just over the three minute minute mark of the opening period, Inferno leading scorer and Captain, Rebecca Johnston would ping one off the post over Maschmeyer’s glove hand. That sparked the Inferno to a 5 SOG run, and including some penalty kill time that hemmed them in MTL had generated only 2 shots on goal in eight minutes.
At 7:59, the dam would finally break. Calgary’s Zoe Hickel had a spectacular tip in the slot off a Katelyn Gosling feed! The second assist would go to Kacey Bellamy to make it 1-0 Inferno!
Then with 7:01 left in the frame, a Halli Krzyzaniak point shot beat Maschmeyer clean thanks to a screen in front from the Les Canadiennes defense. With the assist to Blayre Turnbull, the lead was 2-0 for the red side!
Although Brianne Jenner had a breakaway with 2:00 left to get the CGY lead up to 3-0, her shot went wide. Each team had a PP chance in the frame but did not capitalize. Shots were 11-6 Inferno.
Les Canadiennes would respond to their dire situation quickly in the second stanza. At the 3:43 mark, the CWHL’s second overall regular season scorer Anne-Sophie Bettez would cut the lead in half to make things 2-1, with the assist going to Sarah Lefort. Just three minutes later, Montreal’s Erin Ambrose would get hauled down by Brianna Decker to send Les Canadiennes to the powerplay, but 33 seconds into the advantage Montreal’s Erin Ambrose would sit for hooking and make things 4-on-4. Neither team would capitalize on the extra ice. Shots were 15-9 Inferno at the midway mark with the Inferno still leading on the scoresheet and the shot clock.
At 11:28, Montreal would compound their problems. Karell Emard would get penalized for hooking. And just over a minute into the man advantage, Calgary’s Kacey Bellamy would set up Brianna Decker for a serious clapper and a powerplay goal at 12:42! 3-1 Inferno!
However with 4:11 left, CGY’s Brianne Jenner would sit for goaltender interference, then a minute into the MTL powerplay Blayre Turbull would get 2:00 for body checking, giving Les Canadiennes one minute and two seconds of five-on-three time.
And the Fabs would take advantage of said advantage, off a RIDICULOUS behind-the-back-between-the-legs-goalmouth-feed-tape-to-tape (yes, that is all one pass) from Hilary Knight to Anne-Sophie Bettez.
MONTRÉAL POWER PLAY GOOOOALLLLLL— The Ice Garden (@TheIceGarden) March 24, 2019
Bettez from a behind the back through the legs pass from Knight. LIKE WOW pic.twitter.com/YjMHVsyQx3
It would be Bettez’s second goal of the game cutting the lead back to one heading into the final twenty minutes.
With a 21-13 shots lead and a 3-2 lead on the scoresheet, the Inferno would try to hang on for the last stanza. Just 30 seconds in, Les Canadiennes Jill Saulnier would beat Alex Rigsby for what appeared to be the game tying goal, but it was immediately waved off for goalie interference as Hilary Knight crashed the crease and CGY would hang on to the single goal lead.
Unfortunately a little over a minute later Rebecca Leslie would get tagged for an interference penalty to send Montreal back to the powerplay, but the Inferno would survive some dangerous chances to kill off the minor penalty.
Getting some juice from the special teams momentum at the 13:36 mark, captain Rebecca Johnston would work a give-and-go to Zoe Hickel to bring back Montreal’s two-goal deficit!
With her second marker of the day, both teams would have a player hit a pair of goals as Zoe Hickel matched Les Canadiennes’ Bettez.
Les Canadiennes wouldn’t go quietly, as they’d pull Emerance Maschmeyer for the extra skater with 2:35 remaining. Despite some dangerous chances against, Calgary would survive the pressure and with 22.9 seconds left, Rebecca Johnston would pot one into the empty cage to ice things for the Inferno and claim the 2019 Clarkson Cup Championship!
3rd Star- Kacey Bellamy, CGY
2nd Star- Ann-Sophie Bettez, MTL
1st Star- Zoe Hickel, CGY
MVP- Brianna Decker, CGY
We here at Matchsticks & Gasoline would like to congratulate the Inferno on a hard fought successful championship season, and thank all our readers for following along! We wish our Ladies In Red a wonderful offseason, and see you next year!