Erica Howe faced off against Amanda Makela for this special matinee game. The first period was high flying, with both goaltenders getting into the action early. Howe had to deal with Toronto bodies in her crease, but she saw through the traffic. Going the other way, Jenna McParland centered for Nicole Brown in the slot, forcing Makela to make a quick pad save. Megan Bozek then brought the puck back into the Furies’ zone, wrapping the puck around the net, but Sydney Kidd checked her stick just in time to throw the puck off its course. After more back and forth, Brittany Zuback went racing into the Thunder zone, pulled the puck around Megan Delay, and put it high glove side, bar-down for the ice-breaker. Both teams continued to trade chances for the second half of the period, with few whistles blown. Howe made a save on bobbling puck off Carolyne Prevost’s stick. Back in Toronto’s zone, Jamie Lee Rattray battled along the boards behind the net, getting the puck free to Laura McIntosh, who quickly passed it out to Kristen Richards waiting along the goal line, but her shot went right to the crest. McParland took a hard shot from the top of the circle, but the blocker save was made. Bozek then took a blast from the point that was only stopped by the tip of Makela’s glove. The opening frame would end with Toronto up 1-0.
To start the second period, Toronto was looking to clear their zone, but coughed the puck up. Rattray was there to pick it up and was able to get a wrister off in the high slot. Urban was then called for interference, and the Thunder penalty kill went to work. Kristen Richards was able to kill some time in the Furies’ zone. After Urban returned to the bench, Nicole Brown took the puck from centre ice into the offensive zone, passing it out from the boards to McParland who came swooping into the high slot. She then took it wide, got herself around the pressing defender, but wasn’t able to get all of the backhanded shot. She took the puck from the corner and got it to the point where Alexis Woloschuk – in her first game since November – who sent it flying to the back of the net! The tying goal was Woloschuk’s first in the CWHL! A few minutes later, Megan Bozek sat for a high stick. Rattray who was out killing the penalty, was tripped by Michelle Saunders and we got 1:40 of 4-on-4 play which was dominated by Markham. After our shortened power play ended, Bozek took the puck in deep, wrapping the puck around the net and under Makela, but unfortunately the net was off. Just past the halfway mark, Alexa Aramburu tripped up Kristen Barbara, and Taylor Woods checked her afterwards. Both Aramburu and Woods were cited and we had more 4-on-4 hockey. The Thunder once again controlled the play, and with 10 seconds left, Lindsay Grigg took a blast from the point, Makela gave up the rebound, and McParland swooped in pocketing the go-ahead goal! A few minutes later, Laura McIntosh took the puck from the half-boards passing it across to Bozek at the far point, getting a hard shot right to Makela. Richards was waiting at the side of the net and slid home the rebound that trickled out giving the Thunder a 3-1 lead! With the period winding down, Markham did not stop the pressure. Grigg went end-to-end getting a nice chance along the goal line. Aramburu took down Melissa Wronzberg and went to the box. With one second left in the advantage, Brown passed the puck to McParland who was sneaking in behind the defence, but she just missed and the net came off its moorings. Thunder would head to the intermission up 3-1.
The third period got off to a great start as McIntosh passed the puck to Rattray in the neutral zone, who then broke into the zone. Rattray toe dragged the puck back between her legs to get around the Toronto player, took the shot and tapped in the rebound off Makela’s pad making it 4-1.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 3, 2018
The Furies had a few shifts where they peppered Howe, but she stood tall. Markham returned the favour, spending a prolonged period in Toronto’s zone. Urban checked Moulson behind the net, getting the puck to Devon Skeats. She took a backhander which Makela stopped, but the rebound popped right out to Ellie Seedhouse who put the puck between the glove and pad for her first goal of the season! The pressure continued and Woods rung one off a post. McIntosh drew a penalty from Ella Stewart who was sent off for holding. Not long after, Carolyne Prevost joined her in the box for goalie interference. Getting set up on the 5-on-3, Rattray and McIntosh passed it back and forth before giving it over to Bozek who blasted it home for her first goal of the season and first as a member of the Markham Thunder! With a few minutes left in the game, Carly Campbell got the puck to Emily Fulton who put it high on Howe to cut Markham’s lead to 6-2. Urban got the puck behind Makela as she was falling in the crease, but the officials ruled no goal on the play. The Thunder took the game with the final score of 6-2!
Liz Knox got the call for Markham, with Toronto going with Makela for the second game of the weekend. It was another fast start between these teams, with Bozek getting a good scoring chance on the first shift of the game, but the shot was gloved by Makela. Knox returned the favour, taking a puck to the crest. The Thunder had prolonged time in the offensive zone after hitting a post, and McIntosh dancing around Furies. Markham received their first power play of the game when Shannon Stewart was sent off for hooking, but nothing came of the advantage. The pressure continued as Skeats rushed into the zone and almost put her own rebound into the net. Hayley Williams was sent off to the Toronto’s box after picking a second stick up off the ice, making her an ineligible player. McIntosh popped the puck up to Bozek at the point, who blasted it on net. Richards was in front and tipped the shot in behind Makela to take the lead! Williams, who returned to the ice with the Thunder goal, found herself back in the box for boarding. This time Markham could not convert. The Furies came off the penalty kill looking to tie the game, but Knox stood tall turning them aside. Richards, McIntosh and Rattray almost converted… until the puck hit the post. The Thunder returned to the power play when Ella Stewart was called for hooking. Woloschuk and Barbara exchanged the puck along the blue line, then got it down to Brown in front who scored her first CWHL goal! Urban was cited for hooking just before the end of the period, and Markham would take their 2-0 lead into the intermission.
First intermission interview with Nicole Brown https://t.co/NIbicKsHXj
— Markham Thunder HC (@ThunderCWHL) February 4, 2018
The second seemed to be the period of penalties, even though there was the same number called as the first. Markham started the period completing the penalty kill, but McParland put them back down a skater for roughing. Knox and the penalty killers shut down Toronto, and ended up on the power play when Carlee Campbell was sent off for delay of game. When nothing came of the advantage, the teams continued to go north and south, until Urban went to the box for hooking. Once again, Markham worked together to keep the Furies out of their net. Jessica Hartwick was taken down in front of Toronto’s bench, slow to get up. She was understandably heated when making her way back to her bench as Jenna Dingeldein was given 10 and 2 for head contact – Alessandra Bianchi would serve the minor.
Toronto killed off the minor penalty, but that didn’t stop the Thunder from rolling. Woods and Brown connected, and McParland got the puck to the net and behind Makela to add to Markham’s lead! The Furies had something to say about that as Hayley Williams put one high over Knox’s glove to cut the score to 3-1. Woods took matters into her own hands, flying in to Toronto’s net, but was robbed by Makela’s glove. A couple minutes later, Rattray and Richards put on a passing clinic as they worked their way to the net, which ended with Richards pocketing her second goal of the game, restoring Markham’s three goal lead. On the next shift, Brown hit the post and was then called for slashing. Luckily, Knox was on her game, nullifying the advantage for the Furies. Shortly after, McIntosh was checked by Vella, putting Markham on the PP. The line of McParland, Woods and Brown had a great shift during the 5-on-4 action, but the score remained the same. After Vella returned to the ice, Toronto rushed the puck up into the Thunder’s zone, but Grigg made a great play separating the puck from the player. After some great zone time from Markham, the Furies’ came back with Dingeldein and Vella connecting with Michelle Saunders to cut the Thunder lead to 4-2. With the game winding down, Toronto took the opportunity to pull their goalie for the extra attacker. Simmonds shot the puck down the ice from deep in Markham’s zone. A Furies’ player tried to chase it down, but ended up giving the puck a little extra push as it arrived at the goal line. Simmonds would be credited with the empty netter, and the Thunder took away another two points!
The win marked Liz Knox’s 35th win in the CWHL, tying her with Laura Hosier for most wins in Thunder history.