CALGARY, Alta (Feb. 23, 2018) The Calgary Inferno traveled to Shenzhen, China to play their final three games of the regular season against the Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays. The Inferno won two games in regular time and one in overtime. With these wins they will maintain their league-leading standing heading into the playoffs in two weeks.
Wednesday’s game had some back and forth action before Rebecca Johnston got around the Rays’ defenders for the 1-0 lead 5:44 into the game, assisted by Brianna Decker. Late in the period, Katelyn Gosling gave the Inferno the 2-0 lead assisted by Johnston and Decker. That period saw three penalties for the Rays and two for the Inferno, but neither were able to capitalize.
The second period had a big pushback by the Rays requiring Alex Rigsby to make some big saves before Emma Woods brought them within one at the 7:14 mark, assisted by Alex Carpenter and Melanie Jue. Both teams again couldn’t capitalize on their powerplays this period. The third period didn’t see any goals but Rigsby had to make some big saves, especially in the final few minutes of the game on the penalty-kill. The Inferno won this game 2-1 with the Rays outshooting them 27-24.
- Alex Rigsby, Inferno
- Rebecca Johnston, Inferno
- Emma Woods, Rays
The Calgary Inferno started Thursday’s game with a quick penalty call before they were able to get some decent chances. Alexandra Carpenter gave the Rays the 1-0 lead at the 16:10 mark, assisted by Rachel Llanes. With just seven seconds left in the period, the Inferno took two penalties, but they managed to kill off the full two-minute 5-on-3 penalty to start the second period. Moments later, Hannah Miller put the Rays up 2-0 at the 3:17 mark, assisted by Hannah Bunton.
Early in the third period, Rebecca Johnston dangled around the Rays defenders to cut their lead to one at the 2:42 mark, assisted by Brianna Decker and Katelyn Gosling. A few minutes later, seconds after an Inferno powerplay expired, Gosling tied the game assisted by Kacey Bellamy and Decker. Minutes later, as the Inferno were on the penalty kill, Brianne Jenner scored shorthanded and gave the Inferno their first lead of the game at the 10:48 mark.
“Jessica Wong had the puck and I was just trying to pressure her,” said Jenner. “I checked the clock and tried to take away some of their time and I think it just went off my shin pad and I was able to make a play from it.”
Alex Rigsby made a couple of big saves before the Rays tied the game with under three to go with a goal by Cayley Mercer, assisted by Alex Carpenter and Hannah Bunton, so this game required overtime.
In OT, it took Jenner just 1:08 to give the Inferno the win, assisted by Halli Krzyzaniak and Rebecca Johnston. The Inferno outshot the Rays 38-26 and with that win, they officially clinched first place in the league.
“It was one of our goals from the beginning of the season [to clinch],” remarked Jenner. “To come here and be on the road and get three wins, with a couple times being down in the games and to come out with three wins in China is huge for us. We’re pretty happy right now.”
- Brianne Jenner, Inferno
- Brianna Decker, Inferno
- Noora Raty, Rays
The Inferno started Saturday’s game by taking the lead after killing off a penalty, with a goal from Blayre Turnbull, assisted by Kaitlyn Willoughby, at the 8:21 mark. Less than two minutes later, the Inferno took another penalty to which the Rays capitalized at the 11:50 mark from Hannah Bunton, assisted by Hannah Miller and Melanie Jue. Two-and-a-half minutes later, Bunton scored her second of the game, assisted by Jue, for the 2-1 lead.
Early in the second period, Brianne Jenner tied the game at the 1:57 mark, assisted by Halli Krzyzaniak, for her third goal of the China series. With under five to go in the period, the Rays capitalized on their powerplay after the Inferno successfully killed on off earlier in the period, to regain their lead with a goal from Rachel Llanes, assisted by Leah Lum and Jue.
The Inferno scored another early goal in the third period from Turnbull for her second of the game, assisted by Venla Hovi for the equalizer. Later, as the Inferno were on a powerplay, Kacey Bellamy shot a rocket from the point and with a tip-in in front from Katelyn Gosling, she put the Inferno up 4-3 for her third of this series. That game-winning goal earned Gosling the first star of the game as the Inferno won the series 3-0 which capped off their regular season.
- Katelyn Gosling, Inferno
- Blayre Turnbull, Inferno
- Hannah Bunton, Rays
The Calgary Inferno will return back to WinSport for the playoffs. They will host the fourth-place team at 8pm on Friday March 8th, 6:45 pm on Saturday, March 9th, and a third game at noon on Sunday the 10th if required. Their opponent will be known next week after the regular season games are complete. As it stands right now, there is a fourth place battle between Markham, Shenzen and Toronto.