Feature photo by Teri Di-Lauro
Though the Thunder had their slot in the playoffs secured after a hard-fought weekend series with les Canadiennes, their final game of the regular season still had big implications. If Markham won, the Rays would be the last team to make the playoffs. If the Furies won (in regulation or OT), they would secure the last spot. After a delay in getting the correct nets on to the ice, Erica Howe and Shea Tiley squared off at either end of the ice.
Markham was the beneficiary of the first power play of the game, coming just over a minute in as Natalie Spooner was called for holding. After some good pressure and chances on the advantage, the Thunder had another chance when Sarah Nurse went off for cross-checking. With nothing coming on the second power play, the teams exchanged chances until Laura McIntosh sent the Thunder to the penalty kill as she was cited for body contact. Luckily for Markham, Howe and Stacey came up with big blocks to keep the puck out of the net. Before the end of the period, Jess Jones and Jenna McParland would each get a good look at the Toronto net.
Toronto opened the second period by taking the lead off the stick of Nurse, a shot that looked to have hit something in front of the net and changed direction on Howe. Laura Fortino hit the ice and sent a huge blast that finds its way out of the playing surface and ends up flying behind the top row of the spectator stands. Some more great plays including a tip try from Richards and a brilliant stop from Howe on a 3-on-1 chance for the Furies occurred before McParland found her way to the sin bin for holding. The penalty was killed off, but Brittany Howard, with help from Carlee Campbell and Shiann Darkangelo, was able to give Toronto the 2-0 lead shortly after. Stacey would narrowly miss her shot on the Furies’ net, but Markham wasn’t able to build off the chance as Kristen Barbara went off for roughing with less than a minute remaining in the frame.
Starting the third still on the penalty kill, the Thunder returned to even strength without incident and generated some good scoring chances on Tiley. Jones was sent off for interference, and Stacey went on a streak during the kill getting a good shot high on Tiley that she stopped with her shoulder. Not long after Jones returned, Megan Bozek was called for tripping. Carolyne Prevost would tip a shot from Mellissa Channell, with the secondary assist to Campbell, giving the Furies a 3-0 lead. With the clock ticking down, Fortino passed the puck across the ice to Taylor Woods who sent it sailing behind Tiley to break the shutout. With two minutes remaining, Markham put the extra attacker out, but time would expire.