by Kristen Lipscombe
Four teams were back on the ice over the weekend in Canadian Women?۪s Hockey League action, with the Boston Blades welcoming the Calgary Inferno for a three-game series at the University of Massachusetts. The Brampton Thunder hosted provincial rivals the Toronto Furies at Victoria Park Arena on Friday and the Furies returned the favour Sunday at the Mastercard Centre.
North of the border, the Brampton Thunder edged the Toronto Furies in both Battle of Ontario face-offs, with the first game decided in a 5-4 shootout win Friday night and the second game a low-scoring affair that ended with 2-1 on the scoreboard Sunday afternoon.
Sochi 2014 gold medallist Laura Fortino (Hamilton, Ont.) scored the lone goal of the six-person shootout Friday to give Brampton its first win of the weekend.
The Toronto Furies took the lead early in the game, though, with Amazing Racer Natalie Spooner (Scarborough, Ont.) and forward Carolyne Prevost (Sarnia, Ont.) making it 2-0, but forward Carly Mercer (Exeter, Ont.) responded for Brampton to narrow the gap to 2-1 before the period was done.
Forward Ellie Seedhouse (Whitby, Ont.) tied it up early in the second for Brampton, with Jessica Vella (Pickering, Ont.) of the Furies and Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, Ont.) of the Thunder trading goals in the period to tie it up again at three-apiece after 40 minutes.
Mercer scored her second of the game at 14:22 in the third, while Alyssa Baldin (Mississauga, Ont.) added another for Toronto at 17:36 in the period, to tie it up again, this time at 4-4, and send it into the scoreless extra frame and then the shootout.
Fortino earned first star, also adding three assists in regulation, while Mercer claimed second star and Baldin, who had a goal and an assist, was third star of the game.
Fortino led Brampton again Sunday afternoon, scoring the first goal of the game early in the second period to get things rolling for the Thunder. Jesse Scanzano (Montreal, Que.) followed up less than two minutes later to make it 2-0 for Brampton heading into intermission.
A power play gave Toronto the chance to get on the board at 4:44 in the third on a goal from Megan Bozek (Buffalo Grove, Ill.), but that was all she wrote, with the game ending 2-1 in favour of Brampton.
Scanzano received first star honours for a goal and an assist on the game, Fortino was named second star and Bozek skated away with the third star badge.
Meanwhile, south of the border, the Calgary Inferno were on fire Friday night, skating to an 8-3 win over the Boston Blades in the first of three games.
But Boston cracked the scoreboard first, on a goal from Bray Ketchum (Greenwich, Conn.) at 2:30 in the first. Rachel Llanes (San Jose, Calif.) scored in the second and Corinne Buie (Edina, Minn.) added Boston?۪s final goal in the third period.
For Calgary, Jessica Campbell (Melville, Sask.) and Rebecca Johnston (Sudbury, Ont.) both scored twice, while Sarah Davis (Paradise, N.L.), Brittany Esposito (Edmonton, Alta.), Danielle Stone (Prince Albert, Sask.) and Jenna Cunningham (Medicine Hat, Alta.) all had singles.
Campbell was named first star, Cunningham received second star honours for two points and Louise Warren (Orangeville, Ont.) was named third star of the game.
The Boston Blades found their spark on Saturday night, with Monique Lamoureux (Grand Forks, N.D.) opening the scoring with an unassisted marker at 3:46 in the first. Stone answered back with an unassisted one of her own at 13:59, but Llanes and Stack added two more before the period was done to give Boston a solid 3-1 leading after the first 20 minutes.
Following a scoreless second period, Cunningham notched a power play marker to bring Calgary to within one goal, but Hilary Knight (San Francisco, Calif.) sealed the deal on an empty net for the 4-2 Blades win.
With the weekend series all tied up, Sunday afternoon?۪s game proved be the most entertaining and exciting, with Knight scoring the overtime goal to give Boston the 3-2 win on the game, and 2-1 on the series.
Knight also scored Boston?۪s first goal of the game, earning her first star of the game honours. Blake Bolden (Cleveland, Ohio) added the second regulation goal for the Blades on a power play, good enough for second star of the game.
Haley Irwin (Thunder Bay, Ont.) scored both of Calgary?۪s goals on the power play, the second unassisted, to help keep the Inferno in the game, earning her third star honours. Lacasse made 28 saves for Boston.
The Calgary Inferno lead the standings with 16 points total, the Boston Blades are currently in second place with 13 points, the Montreal Stars claim third place with 11 points, the Brampton Thunder are in fourth with nine points, and the Toronto Furies trail in fifth place with seven points.
But there?۪s still plenty of time left in the 2014-15 season, so don?۪t miss a second of CWHL action! Learn more about the Canadian Women?۪s Hockey League by visiting www.CWHL.ca, and check out our social media by ???liking? us on Facebook and following us at www.Twitter.com/CWHL_Insider.
~ Photo courtesy of Jess Bazal, CWHL