Calgary, Alta – The Calgary Inferno and Les Canadiennes de Montreal played on Sunday afternoon for the top prize in women’s hockey, the CWHL’s Clarkson Cup.
Calgary, looking to defend last year’s title, finished first in the league in regular season and received the Chairman’s Trophy at the CWHL awards on Friday night. Both teams collected a handful of hardware at the awards. The Inferno’s Scott Reid won coach of the year and Meaghan Mikkelson took home top defender award. Calgary’s Jessica Campbell also received the league’s humanitarian award for her work with mental health awareness, youth mentorship and the team’s second annual Start the Spark game. Montreal’s Marie-Philip Poulin cleaned house with the receipt of the league’s MVP award, the Jayna Hefford Memorial Trophy and the Angela James Bowl. Goaltender Charlene Labonte won goaltender of the year.
Both teams were also very evenly matched on the ice, having split their six match ups in the regular season. Montreal had a slight edge, looking for redemption in their loss to Calgary in the 2016 Final. Montreal opened the scoring in the first with a goal from Katia Clement-Hydra. Calgary peppered Montreal’s goalie Charlene Labonte, but Poulin got a lucky break on a wrist shot that Calgary netminder Emerance Machmeyer knocked down and then the puck snuck through the five hole. Throughout the physical game a handful of penalties were called, all part of the battle on the ice. There were no shorthanded goals, both teams’ penalty killing lines were strong. More than half way into the third period Calgary rallied with a goal from Jillian Saulnier, on a pass from Rebecca Johnston. It was too little too late for the team from the west. When they pulled Maschmeyer with two minutes left in the game, Montreal carried the puck out and Poulin fired it down and scored her second goal of the game, an empty net goal.
The 3-1 victory gives Montreal their fourth Clarkson Cup title, adding to their wins in 2008-09, 2010-11 and 2011-12.
The three stars of the game were Calgary’s Jillian Saulnier, second star was Marie-Philip Poulin and the first star was the well-deserving goalie, Charlene Labonte. Labonte also received the game’s MVP award.