Thunder Complete Season Sweep of Blades

Game One

Elijah Milne-Price made her first start in the CWHL after being drafted by the Thunder this past off-season, and Mariah Fujimagari would get the start for the Blades. Worcester came out with lots of speed and determination in the opening minutes, putting in lots of time in Markham’s defensive zone. Milne-Price had to be sharp, making a string of good saves. Unfortunately, the Blades Demi Crossman was able to send the puck past the glove side, assisted by Kaitlin Spurling, to open the scoring.

Worcester would be first to set up shop in the penalty box as Taryn Harris was cited for cross checking. Less than 30 seconds in, the Thunder converged on the Blades’ net with Laura Stacey and Victoria Bach getting touches on the puck before Jamie Lee Rattray – from her knees – sent it high blocker side to tie the game. Markham continued to fire pucks at Fujimagari for the second half of the opening period with great chances coming from Bach, Gribbons, Woods, and Forfar. At the other end, Milne-Price fended off a flurry of action from in close, and the frame would end tied 1-1.

A few minutes into the second, Crossman was called for body checking, sending Markham back on the player advantage. Off the face off, Stacey sent the puck to Megan Bozek at the point and Rattray chipped at the rebound off Bozek’s shot to pot her second of the game giving Markham the lead.

The Thunder kept the pressure on the Blades until Jocelyne Larocque was next to the box for interference. Milne-Price and the Markham PK units were up to the task. A few minutes later, Jess Jones and Nicole Brown worked along the boards to cause a turnover, slipping the puck to Kosta who took it below the goal line and popped it out to Nicole Brown who was waiting in the slot and sent it to the back of the twine.

Just over a minute later on an almost identical feed, Kristen Richards gets the puck to Larocque who pinches and goes behind the goal line sending it to Jenna McParland waiting in the slot to quickly make it 4-1. The score would stand as the second intermission began.

Milne-Price showed good puck control early, preventing the Blades from getting any rebound chances as they came out swinging to start the third. Five minutes into the period, Rattray would complete her first CWHL hat trick after taking the puck from a Blade and using her strong frame to out-muscle a defender to get to the front of the net where she spun around and sent the puck five-hole.

Brooke Webster was shoved into the boards, with the bottom of her mask hitting the ledge. Harris would find herself in the box for the second time of the night for the roughing play. McParland sent the puck to Larocque at the point, and Jess Jones tipped the shot to give her 50 CWHL goals, and make the score 6-1 for the Thunder. As time expired, Bach took a shot that hit Rattray in front of the net, but the puck would bounce off the boards and out to Stacey waiting at the yawning net to make the final score 7-1 for Markham.

Game Two

Erica Howe got the call across the ice from Worcester’s Lauren Dahm. Markham dictated the play early, and it wasn’t until after the five minute mark that Worcester registered their first shot of the game. After a good cycle for the line of Kosta, Jones and Brown, Kaitlin Spurling was called for hooking, once again sending the Thunder to the first power play of the game. Less than a minute later however, Rattray would head off for tripping giving lots of open ice in 4-on-4 play. Bach would take the puck back into the Blades’ zone, uses the defender as a screen and goes bar-down on Dahm to get the scoring started, assisted by Stacey.

Worcester found themselves back on the penalty kill as Courtney Turner flipped the puck over the glass. With a mess of players screening Dahm, the puck passed between Stacey to Rattray to Bach, who made no mistake and potted her second of the game. The Thunder received another chance on the advantage when Carrie Atkinson sat for body checking, but a splits save by Dahm helped kill it off. With the clock winding down, Nicole Anderson made it 2-1 with the assist to Meghan Grieves. Howe came out to meet the puck and pass it away from the pressuring Blades player to end the period.

Howe made a good blocker save off a 2-on-1 chance during the opening minutes of the second frame. Atkinson found herself back in the box for holding. Markham could not convert on the advantage, however moments later, Kelly Gribbons and Becca King were battling for a puck behind the Worcester net when Brown moved down to bat at the now loose puck and tucked it past Dahm to make is 3-1 for Markham. Right after, the Blades headed to the power play as Jones was sent to the box for body checking. They received a two player advantage when Richards was also cited for body checking, and converted 12 seconds later off the stick of Megan Meyers, helped by Lauren Williams. Howe made a stunning glove save to kill off the rest of the Richards penalty.

Things became chippy when Dahm laid down trying to cover the puck, but the Thunder crashed the net and slipped the loose puck across the goal line. After some discussion, the officials ruled that the goal would stand, scored by Rattray and assisted by Stacey and Bach. It didn’t take long for Bach to pot her first CWHL hat trick as she put the puck top shelf on the short side, with the helper going to Stacey. Fujimagari would then replace Dahm in net for Worcester.

Shortly after, King found her way to the box for cross checking. Halfway through the kill, Stacey would spring Kosta and make it 6-2 for the Thunder with the shorthanded marker. Atkinson would make it time for 4-on-4 action, sitting for holding. Markham held the offensive zone after a face-off as Barbara connected with Brown who sent the puck towards the net as Larocque pinched low and the puck went past Fujimagari on the blocker side. Stacey would add another to the total as she walked right into the slot after receiving a pass from Rattray and shot it low glove side. Morgan Turner was called for tripping to end the period, but the score would remain 8-2.

The third period would start fast – minimal whistles and some good chances at both ends. Approaching the halfway mark of the frame, Anderson would record her second goal of the game assisted by Courtney Turner and Grieves. Lots of posts and more scoring chances filled the period around another chance on the power play when Meghan Spurling slashed the stick out of Rattray’s hands. With 32 seconds left in the game, Jones passed the puck cross-ice to Kosta who popped it up to Larocque at the point. Markham’s captain took the shot from the point and was awarded her second goal of the game and securing a 9-3 final score for her team.