Calgary, Alta – Oct.21 – The Calgary Inferno remained perfect at home as they swept the Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays easily 6-1 at WinSport for the backend of this two-game series.
The opening period saw the Inferno dictate the pace of the play as they came out with more energy and created more scoring opportunities against the Rays’ Noora Raty. The Rays’ best chance to get on the board came just a couple minutes into the game when Hannah Miller picked off an ill-advised pass from the Inferno’s Brianna Decker and hammered a shot wide from the high slot. Shortly after, Inferno forward Brianne Jenner countered with a terrific chance of her own as she caught Raty in the mask with a high shot coming off a 2-on-1. The home team finally solved Raty midway through the first as Inferno defender Aina Mizukami released a shot from the point off a draw and the puck somehow found its way through heavy traffic and beat the Finnish netminder. Dakota Woodworth and Eden Murray recorded the assists on the first goal of the game. Shots on goal after the first were 16-6 in favour of the Inferno.
Calgary added to the lead almost immediately after the second period faceoff as Zoe Hickel circled around the net and found a wide-open Rebecca Johnston who snapped one past Raty. Rebecca Leslie picked up the other assist on the play and the Inferno enjoyed a two-goal lead. Both teams would exchange powerplay opportunities later on in the period with neither team capitalizing. With two minutes left in the second, the Rays finally solved Inferno goalie Alex Rigsby as forward Hanna Bunton surprised Rigsby with a quick shot along the ice from the slot. Bunton’s teammates Cayley Mercer and Melanie Jue would register helpers on the goal, which snapped Rigsby’s shutout streak at 145 minutes and 49 seconds. However, the Inferno showed great composure and responded quickly as Blayre Turnbull passed the puck to Jenner at the blue line and Jenner’s point shot was neatly deflected into the net by Venla Hovi for her first ever CWHL goal. Calgary took a 3-1 lead heading into the third period and heavily outshot the Rays 29-14.
The final period saw the Rays searching for their second goal of the game, as they would try to capitalize on a man advantage just five minutes in. However, Rigsby and the Inferno special teams stood their ground and denied the visitors. Shortly after, the floodgates opened and the Inferno ran away with the game. Inferno defenseman Halli Krzyzaniak opened the third period scoring with her first CWHL goal as she took the pass from Hovi and fired one in from the point.
“Raty’s one of the best goalies in the world – we knew that going in, so we had to change our mindset and change our game a little bit because goals are typically hard to come by against her,” stated second star Halli Krzyzaniak.
With a 4-1 lead, the Inferno were looking for more as Decker picked the top corner of the net, beating Raty. However, the goal was waived off due to a timing issue with the score clock. But The Inferno did not skip a beat as Jenner put home a one-timer feed from Krzyzaniak, pushing the lead to 5-1. The Rays tried to stop the landslide by swapping out Raty with backup goaltender Kimberly Newell. However, the Inferno kept their foot on the gas pedal as Decker eventually made her way onto the score sheet with a goal in tight with the assist going to Rebecca Johnston.
“I think we actually came out and played a lot better today. We were using each other more and I think we had more energy in this game,” expressed Johnston. “We haven’t practiced a ton on the bigger ice surface so it took us a little while to get our legs under us.”
Calgary cruised to a 6-1 victory as they poured in 43 shots on goal and Rigsby picked up her second consecutive victory.
Stars of the Game:
1st – Venla Hovi (Calgary Inferno)
2nd – Halli Krzyzaniak (Calgary Inferno)
3rd – Rebecca Johnston (Calgary Inferno)
The Inferno will now head out east to take on the Worcester Blades next weekend with Saturday’s game starting at 4:00 pm MST and Sunday’s contest beginning at 10:30 am MST.