Team Knox Wins All-Star Game

Feature photo by Chris Tanouye / CWHL

Missed the 2019 CWHL All-Star Game at Scotiabank Arena or Sportsnet? We’ve got all you need to know about how the Thunder experiences the weekend right here!

Team Knox/Gold Team Lacquette/Purple
Liz Knox, Captain Jamie Lee Rattray
Jocelyne Larocque Laura Stacey
Laura Fortino Victoria Bach
Megan Bozek
Brent Graham, Equipment Manager

It was a battle of Thunder defence vs Thunder offence after the Draft saw Laura Stacey, Jamie Lee Rattray and Victoria Bach drafted by Team Lacquette (Purple), and Team Gold captain and Thunder goalie Liz Knox taking Jocelyne Larocque and her fellow defenders Laura Fortino and Megan Bozek.

Knox pulled a trick out of coach Charline Labonté’s book by dropping to cover the puck during the ceremonial face-off, garnering great applause from the crowd.

Once the game began, it wasn’t long before Team Purple ran with the all-Thunder offence line, and Rattray flew down the ice towards Markham teammate Knox, making a pass through the crease the narrowly missed Stacey and Bach. It was another fellow Thunder who would clear the puck out of Gold’s zone, as Fortino sent it back into Purple’s zone. Fortino and Knox would team up on making sure Hannah Miller of the Rays would not open the scoring for Purple, at just after Brianne Jenner of the Inferno hit the post for Team Gold. Bozek followed Team Purple’s Sarah Nurse of the Furies to the net, forcing her to make a move on Knox, which trickled just wide of the post.

Shortly after, Ann-Sophie Bettez of les Canadiennes who popped the puck into the slot for Brianna Decker of the Inferno to give Team Gold the opening goal of the game. Fortino tried to widen Gold’s lead by pinching down and sneaking in low undetected, but Purple’s starting goalie Emerance Maschmeyer of les Canadiennes was able to get across and rob her. Later in the frame, Bach went up against the all-Thunder D-pair of Fortino and Bozek, and ended up on the ice as Bozek gave her a little friendly tap. Decker would pot another, a laser of a shot, to give Team Gold the 2-0 lead, assisted by Natalie Spooner of the Furies and Jessica Wong of the Rays. The first period would end with some captain on captain action as Lacquette took a shot from the point and Knox gobbled up the puck. With 12.2 seconds left, Larocque took the only penalty of the game, a hooking call that came as she defended against Nurse.

With Larocque still in the box to start the second period, Team Gold was driven to kill off the penalty. Fortino passed the puck up to Jenner who made a gorgeous move to get the puck behind Maschmeyer, widening the lead to 3-0.

It didn’t take long for Jenner to net her second goal of the game, assisted by Erin Ambrose of les Canadiennes and Kacey Bellamy of the Inferno. Blayre Turnbull (Inferno), Lauriane Rougeau (Canadiennes) and Nurse tried to get one back for Team Purple, but Knox made the save as the puck hit her arm and dropped down outside of the crease. Knox then attempted to go for the goalie change during play as the game was nearing the halfway point, but she was caught and Turnbull finally put Team Purple on the board with assists going to Nurse and Marie-Philip Poulin of les Canadiennes.

With the score now 4-1, and hitting the 10 minute mark of the second period, the goalies changed out with Noora Räty of the Rays going in for Team Gold and Alex Rigsby of the Inferno in for Team Purple. The Thunder’s Lauras swapped chances at opposing nets, but it would be Stacey who would corral her own rebound and bank the puck off Bellamy and through the legs of Räty to cut the score to 4-2.

Hanna Bunton would go on a breakaway minutes later, restoring a comfortable 5-2 lead for Team Gold. The Blades’ Lauren Williams would score her first goal in the CWHL to put Team Purple right back into the chase making it 5-3 heading into the second intermission, with assists going to Stacey and Cayley Mercer of the Rays.

The third period would open with more chances and great defensive plays, but it wasn’t until just under the 14 minute mark that Jenner would complete the hat trick thanks to a pass from Bettez. It would quickly become a 7-3 game as Bettez scored a goal of her own, assisted by Ambrose and Jenner. With just over five minutes left, Bach went streaking, had some nice puck handling before sliding it over to the Inferno’s Zoe Hickel to make it a 7-4 game.

Team Gold would add one more goal to their total as Rebecca Johnston of the Inferno doubled the lead with the assist going to Spooner, and that would be the final goal as Team Gold, captained by Knox with Larocque, Fortino and Bozek would take the game 8-4 over Team Purple and Rattray, Bach and Stacey.

Some Thoughts from the Players

Victoria Bach on her first All-Star Game: “It was a great experience getting the chance to play against and alongside the best female players in the world. It was awesome to see all of the young girls and fans who came to support us in the stands. I had a lot of fun meeting the celebrity coaches as well! Overall it was a great weekend!”

Laura Stacey on the weekend and her goal: “It was a very fun weekend for all of us and it was nice to get to spend some time playing with and against the top players from all over the league. The game was exciting, the jerseys looked amazing and the whole weekend was an experience I am never going to forget. It was definitely a tough loss for Team Purple, but we had a lot of fun and hope the crowd enjoyed it!”

“Playing with Cayley Mercer and Jaime Lee Rattray was great, and we were moving the puck around in their end and I looked back door to slide it across to Cayley, but it hit off the defenders skate and slipped into the back of the net. It was a pretty lucky goal that for sure!”

Jocelyne Larocque on the game and being picked by captain Knox as part of her starting line up: “To be picked by her was pretty special. We’ve all had such a fun weekend, it’s a great group of girls and I had a good time watching all the goals!”

Liz Knox on her captain duties and performance in her first All-Star Game: “I wanted to make sure my starting lineup picks had a good representation of the teams in the league, and to tip my hat to some of the longest serving and underrated players. It was a lot of fun to play, really fast game so as a goalie I didn’t have to do much thinking which is nice. All the girls are so talented and it was so much fun to watch.”