Weekend shootout thrillers

Weekend includes a couple of shootout thrillers; Cunningham helps Calgary Inferno claim two straight

by Kristen Lipscombe

The newly named Calgary Inferno are looking pretty darn good so far in 2013-14 ??? especially for a team that didn?۪t even make it to the Clarkson Cup championship tournament last season.

In fact, the Calgary Inferno edged the Toronto Furies 3-2 in a thrilling shootout Friday, Nov. 29, during their first home game at the Markin MacPhail Centre, located at WinSport Athletic & Ice Complex nestled in Canada Olympic Park.

The Inferno went on to top the Furies 2-1 on Saturday, Nov. 30 in what was another closely played match-up between the two teams, but then fell 7-1 in the third game of the weekend Sunday, Dec. 1, ultimately skating away with two wins and one loss in their three-game home opener series.

Jenna Cunningham notched the game-winner in Friday night?۪s shootout, and was the only player who scored in the six-player showdown.

While K. Zamora kicked off the scoring just two seconds into the first, Cunningham also answered with Calgary?۪s first goal of the night at 4:48 in the period. The back-and-forth action continued throughout the game, with blueliner Shannon Moulson reclaiming the Toronto lead early in the second. But rookie Julie Paetsch tied it up for Calgary again at 5:50 in the third, sending the first of three weekend games against Toronto into overtime, and then into the shootout that gave the Inferno its exciting 3-2 win in front of a hometown crowd. Calgary netminder Kathy Desjardins made 29 saves over 65 minutes.

That first win gave the Calgary Inferno the confidence they needed heading into the afternoon game Saturday, Nov. 30, which saw Toronto again open the scoring on a goal from Carolyne Prevost early in the first. But also once again, it was Cunningham to replay with an unassisted marker before the first 20 minutes were up on the clock. Another Calgary rookie, Abygail Laking, scored the game-winner at 6:08 in the third to give Calgary the 2-1 win, and its second straight victory of the weekend.

But the Toronto Furies came back big-time Sunday, Dec. 1 before heading back to Ontario. This time Calgary started the scoring, with Cunningham assisting Danielle Stone, who fed Chelsea Purcell to make it 1-0 at 1:36 in the first. But from then on out, it was all Toronto, with Prevost tying it up just over a minute later.

The Calgary Inferno managed to keep the score throughout the middle frame, but as soon as the puck dropped on the third, the Toronto Furies started riddling the opposition?۪s net with shots. Olympic gold medallist Tessa Bonhomme scored the eventual game-winner 48 seconds into the period, while Alyssa Baldin made it 3-1 less than two and a half minutes later on a power play. Prevost assisted both of those goals, and then followed up with another goal of her own to make it 4-1 at 16:01 in the final frame. In the last four minutes, Lexie Hoffmeyer added another with Prevost once again helping out, Baldin scored her second of the night and K. Zamora topped it off with less than 60 seconds left on the clock for the 7-1 final in favour of Toronto over Calgary.

Prevost had two goals and three assists in the game, while Baldin had two goals and an assist. Toronto goaltender Christina Kessler helped he team maintain its powerful lead, making 34 saves over three periods.

Meanwhile in Brampton, the Montreal Stars shut out the Brampton Thunder in an evening game Saturday, Nov. 30, and fell 3-2 to the same team in the weekend?۪s second Canadian Women?۪s Hockey League shootout.

In Saturday?۪s game, Montreal dominated from the first face-off to the final whistle, with Dominique Thibault opening the scoring at 5:21 on a power play in the first to make it 1-0 after 20 minutes. Cathy Chartrand added one at 17:37 in the middle frame for a 2-0 Montreal lead going into the second intermission, while forward Emilie Bocchia and Olympic gold medallist Sarah Vaillancourt contributed markers in the third for the final 4-0 score over Brampton. Meghan Corley-Byrne saved all 22 shots for the shutout win.

The Brampton Thunder came out better prepared for Sunday?۪s match-up, although a power play in the first again cost them, with Thibault cracking the scoreboard first once again at 12:40 in the period. The two teams traded goals in the second, with Laura McIntosh tying it up on a Brampton power play at 7:18 in the period and Chartrand scoring a short-handed marker at 18:16 to give Montreal back its lead and make it 2-1 after 40 minutes.

McIntosh scored her second of the game midway through the third, tying it up again at 3-3 and sending it into five minutes of scoreless overtime, followed by a shootout.

This time McIntosh scored the shootout game-winner, notching two markers in the shootout for Brampton?۪s 3-2 win. Alyssa Cecere was the only successful shooter for Montreal. Brampton netminder Sonja van der Bliek was also key in the win, stopping an impressive 38 pucks through 65 minutes of play.

Check out alberta.cwhl.ca to stay up to date on the Inferno, visit toronto.cwhl.ca to follow the Furies this season, go to brampton.cwhl.ca for more on the Thunder and head to montreal.cwhl.ca for updates from the Stars.

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