Thunder Take Red Star to OT in Hard Battle

 

It was a special game for many players, staff and fans as Thunder Nation came together with the Scotiabank Pro-Am for Alzheimer’s in support of Baycrest – leaders in Alzheimer’s and dementia research, education and care. We’d also like to thank Markville Chevrolet for sponsoring the game!

Jess Bazal

Markham and Kunlun came into the game with the season series split, and both teams were ready to battle to claim the last win. Liz Knox and Noora Räty settled into their nets for another goaltending duel.

Unfortunately for the Thunder, the first few minutes of the game did not go as planned. Kelli Stack scored just 23 seconds in, with help from Zoe Hickel and Jessica Wong. Jamie Lee Rattray tried her best to even things up, but her shot was turned aside by Räty and put high up on the glass. Alex Carpenter got the puck to Hickel, who once again connected with Stack to put Kunlun up 2-0 before four minutes had come off the clock. Markham regrouped on their timeout, and Jenna McParland took things into her own hands, bringing the puck from along the wall and putting it top shelf on Räty!

Jess Bazal

Play continued to be fast, and Knox was sharp making saves with Red Star players closing in. Shiann Darkangelo was sent to the penalty box for holding, and the Thunder took their shot at the power play. Nicole Kosta had a good scoring chance as she drove to the side of the net. Though she slipped, Kosta was still able to get a fair shot off and forced Räty to close the gap beside the post. After 20 minutes, Kunlun held on to their 2-1 lead.

The second period kicked off with a stellar save from Knox, keeping her net locked down. The Red Star tried to set up a redirect, but Megan Bozek broke it up, sending Kosta into the offensive zone and forcing Räty to make a quick blocker save. The Thunder continued to pressuring looking for the equalizing goal as the line of McParland, Kosta and Nicole Brown was buzzing in Kunlun’s zone. When the Red Star did get into the Thunder’s zone, Knox made the saves and covered any rebounds. Markham had more sustained pressure as the period hit the mid-way point. Laura McIntosh dangled the puck, sliding it over to Rattray who went looking for Kristen Barbara who snuck in low, but the timing was just seconds off. Jessica Hartwick followed up that shift with a rocket from the point, setting off another great shift for the Thunder. The Red Star finally got the puck out of their zone, and Knox made two amazing saves – first on Carpenter, and second on Rachel Llanes. As the period came to a close, Devon Skeats was called for tripping and Knox’s still was once again on display, shutting down the Kunlun power play.

 

It was another fast start for the third frame, the first whistle coming three minutes in when Kunlun entered the zone offside. After the ensuing faceoff, McIntosh connected with Rattray who found the back of the net and tied the game!

 

Jess Bazal

A few minutes later, Brown sat for tripping and once again the Thunder PK unit and Knox negated Kunlun’s advantage. Red Star players continued to crash the net and Hartwick made it known that no one was going to touch her teammate, exchanging some words and a few shoves at the side of Knox’s net. Markham returned to the power play when Taylor Marchin was called for roughing, but nothing materialized. The tense match continued and the clock kept ticking. Kosta and Rattray both had good chances, but regulation was not enough time to crown a winner.

Furious play was the theme of this game, and the overtime period was no different. Knox and Räty battled to the bitter end. With 37.72 seconds left, Stack and Hickel battled along the boards with the Thunder, and were able to get a shot deflected by Wong who had come down to the slot from the blue line to win the game.

Liz Knox made an outstanding 44 saves, earning her the second star of the game.