Calgary, Alta – The Calgary Inferno hosted Les Canadiennes de Montreal for the “Start the Spark” game in support of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre (SKCAC) and in front of a packed crowd on Saturday night. With the win, the Inferno have secured first place in the CWHL regular-season standings; a new record for the franchise.
The game started with a special ceremony from the game’s sponsors and supporters; Randy Kowalchuk from Scotiabank, the sponsor of the Inferno’s purple jerseys put up for auction, the principal and vice principal from Holy Cross School, John Gorman and his daughter Teaghan from Halliburton Canada Group, Amy Ball from the Canadian Mental Health Association, Rob Cote from the Calgary Stampeders and Sheldon Kennedy, Director of SKCAC.
“Start the Spark” is an initiative created by the Calgary Inferno in collaboration with the SKCAC to build awareness for youth mental health. The program is structured around three pillars, Fostering Strength, Building Resiliency, and Promoting Communication, with the goal of sparking the conversation of mental illness. Les Canadiennes de Montreal also showed their support by wearing custom purple t-shirts with their logo during the warm-up of this second annual fundraiser.
“It’s near and dear to my heart, for sure, dealing with a friend and my own personal struggles, so it’s great to see this many people come out and support us,” said Jessica Campbell, Inferno forward and Director of Communications for SKCAC.
Both teams started off to a quick start. With over 2000 fans in the stands, the two teams went back and forth battling for the puck. With low shots on goal, the period was scoreless.
The beginning of the second period remained goalless, with a penalty for the Inferno taken by Brigette Lacquette. With 12:18 left of the period, the silence was finally broken with Hailey Irwin getting the first goal of the game with assists from Rebecca Johnston and Katelyn Gosling. The Inferno asserted their dominance, with 1:19 left of the second period, Blayre Turnbull scored the team’s second goal with assists from Gosling and Bailey Bram. The final score of the second period was 2-0 for the Inferno.
“We’re always battling for first place, the ultimate goal is the Clarkson’s Cup so we just keep pushing towards that” said Brittaney Fouracres of Les Canadiennes de Montreal.
Tensions were high in the third period. Jacquie Pierri received a five minute major penalty and two minutes for kicking which resulted in Pierri being ejected from the game. Calgary’s penalty kill was a wall and Montreal was unable to take capitalize on this seven-minute power play. Caught on a too many men penalty after they pulled the goalie, Les Canadiennes de Montreal pulled their goalie a second time with a minute left in the game and in hopes of a comeback. The Inferno took advantage of this and Jillian Saulnier scored an empty net goal, bringing the Inferno up 3-0 and ultimately securing a win for the Calgary Inferno.
Calgary’s goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer ended the game with a shutout.
The three stars of the game were:
- #38 Emerance Maschmeyer, Calgary Inferno
- #21 Haley Irwin, Calgary Inferno
- #32 Charline Labonte, Les Canadiennes de Montreal
Game two of the weekend series will be held at the WinSport’s Arena A at 12:15PM MT Sunday, February 19. The Calgary Inferno will be playing against the Toronto Furies next weekend to kickoff the playoffs.