Markham Closing in on a Playoff Position

 

The final game in the GTA rivalry for the season came as the CWHL returned to action after taking a break for the Olympics. The game was the Thunder’s annual Do It For Daron (DIFD) night, supporting the youth mental health movement. The team wore special jerseys designed by Athletic Knit, which were auctioned off, raising an incredible $5,200!

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Erica Howe would face-off with Toronto’s Amanda Makela in goal. Things got off to a good start with both teams trading chances early on, but it was the Thunder who would strike first, less than two minutes into the game. Jamie Lee Rattray gathered the puck after Lindsay Grigg and Kristen Richards battled to keep it in the zone, brought it into the high slot after dragging the puck around a Toronto player and went top shelf over Makela’s glove. This marked Rattray’s 12th consecutive game with a point.

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When play resumed, Howe made a good save at the side of her net, then Megan Bozek rushed from end to end, centering the puck, but just missing a teammate to put it in. The Furies had some time in the Thunder zone, but when the puck returned to Markham’s possession, Rattray, Richards, and Taylor Woods had a 3-on-2 chance which ended in a hard shot to Makela’s crest by Woods. Play continued to go back and forth, and just before the midway point, Jenna McParland had a rocket of a shot from just outside Toronto’s blueline that narrowly missed the net. On the next shift, Richards was cited for a hook and Markham went on the penalty kill. Michelle Saunders took a hard shot that Howe turned aside with her blocker, with the puck bouncing off the glass to the other side of the ice. Jenna Dingeldein would corral the puck, and used a screen from the top of the face off circle to get the puck past Howe to tie the game. Right afterward, Sydney Kidd went off for hooking and Markham got their first power play of the game. Rattray passed the puck across the ice to Woods who quickly released the puck on net, but once again Makela was there to make the stop. Toronto went the other way, and Howe had to make a glove save on Jess Vella. Alexis Woloschuk tried to connect with McParland but the pass went just wide of her blade. Nicole Kosta then tried to hit the top corner of the net, but shot it just wide as the advantage came to an end. Rattray was then called for roughing and the Thunder went back on the penalty kill. Howe made some great saves, turning the puck aside and nullifying the advantage.

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Markham continued to put pressure on Toronto, and were able to draw a penalty as Shannon Moulson sat for hooking. Grigg got the puck towards the net and Woods went for the tip, but the save was made. Rattray then got the puck to Woods at the side of the net where Makela made the save, but as Woods went for the rebound the net came off its moorings and the play was dead. The period would end tied at 1-1.

The second frame opened with Kristen Barbara flipping a puck high over the other skaters to the net where Makela had to make a quick save. Time came off the clock quickly as the teams traded chances until Karolina Urban was dumped at the side of the Furies’ net and Markham went to the power play. With Aramburu in the box for interference, McParland chipped the puck to Kosta who took it into the zone, took a shot from the top of the circle and Nicole Brown was there to clean up the rebound off Makela’s pad to retake the lead!

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Off the ensuing face off, Bozek pinched in and tried to get the puck to Urban who was waiting at the other side of the crease, but the net came off again. Unfortunately for Markham, Urban was called for hooking. The Thunder did a great job keeping Toronto to the outside and killed off the penalty. The furious pace continued until Woloschuk was called for hooking. Howe made a blocker save, and then the Thunder would clear the zone. Hayley Williams took down Jessica Hartwick, so we got some 4-on-4 action for 1:15. Dania Simmonds broke up a two on one for Toronto by laying down her body and helping to kill the last bit of 4-on-4. A few minutes later, Barbara took the puck in deep, flipped it to towards the net on her backhand and Devon Skeats took it as a pass and popped it past Toronto’s goaltender. The Furies came back hard, and Howe had to make a quick save on Brittany Zuback. Toronto brought the puck back into the offensive zone with speed as Zuback accepted a pass from Emily Fulton, pulling Howe to the far left of her net, leaving the net open to Carolyne Prevost who would tap home the cross ice pass as Grigg made contact with her goalie. After a turnover in the Furies’ zone, the Thunder had to back-check. Hartwick rushing back, angled Williams and took her down along the boards in the process. A scrum ensued as Williams was seen by the trainer – she would not return to the game. Hartwick was given a 5-minute major for boarding and was done for the night. Rattray, Simmonds, Dingeldein and Ella Stewart we’re all given coincidental roughing minors. With Toronto on the long power play, Howe made saves at each post as Toronto tried to wrap the puck around the net.

The advantage continued to start the third for the Furies. Howe made some good positional saves, and Seedhouse and Urban went on a break, getting a good chance on Makela short handed. Howe made a brilliant string of pad saves to finish the penalty kill, keeping the lead intact. It took awhile for the players in the penalty boxes to emerge as the first stoppage took several minutes to occur. Markham has another couple of chances before they headed back on the power play when Jessica Platt was called for body checking. McParland just missed the puck as she attempted a one timer, but she got the puck over to Brown who took a big shot from the top of the zone and rifled it past the glove hand of Makela to get her second goal of the game. A bit more back and forth play before Kosta got the puck to Brown who passed it back, giving Kosta the chance to pass cross-crease to McParland who took a shot and then put her own rebound into the back of the net.

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Urban took a roughing penalty about a minute later. With her teammates once again keeping Toronto to the outside, Howe made a jump catch when a high puck came in from the point, making sure there was no bounce that could go in favour of the Furies. After a successful kill, Bozek pinched low in Toronto’s zone just missing on the wrap around. With the game coming to a close, the Thunder still forced pucks towards the Furies’ net. Bozek walks the blueline, pinches in along the boards, where she was scrubbed off the puck by Fulton who went to the box for body checking. Markham would end the game with the advantage, but the score would remain 5-2 for the Thunder.

Markham takes the season series against Toronto 4-1.