CALGARY (March 18, 2018) – The Calgary Inferno played the equivalent of four hockey games in three days against the Kunlun Red Star in the CWHL playoff battle for a spot in the 2018 Clarkson Cup Final.
It was a nail biter of a weekend in their playoff series against the Chinese team and the Red Star came up on top Sunday night with the first and only goal of the game, scored after 114 minutes of hockey. Calgary won the first game of the series on Friday night 3-0 and Kunlun secured an overtime goal on Saturday to win 3-2 and take it to game three on Sunday.
Kunlun will advance to next Sunday’s Clarkson Cup Championship against the Markham Thunder. It’s both teams’ inaugural season in the CWHL and they upset the last two Clarkson Cup Champions in this year’s playoffs to make it there; the ‘15-16 Calgary Inferno and ‘16-17 Montreal Les Canadiennes.
Sunday was a battle of the defense. Calgary’s Delayne Brian stopped all but 43 of the 44 shots she took while Kunlun’s Noora Raty was a stalwart in net against Calgary’s offense with 66 saves on the night. Each team had the chance to capitalize on powerplay opportunities throughout the game and a Calgary had three powerplay chances in the three overtime periods. The two teams went 14:01 into the third overtime before Kunlun’s Alexandra Carpenter snuck one past Brian, with assists to Zoe Hickel and Kelli Stack.
Calgary won the first game against Kunlun Friday 3-0, with both goalies having a spectacular game. Dakota Woodworth opened the scoring for the Inferno, finding the top shelf of the net over a sprawling Noora Raty. The second period proved to be high paced and the Inferno continued to put on the heat, but were unable to find the back of the net. In the third period, Calgary’s Louise Warren scored with Elana Lovell earning the assist. Brittney Fouracres scored the third and final goal of the game with just under two minutes left to play, sealing the deal for the Inferno’s first playoff victory. Delayne Brian made 20 saves for the shutout win. Shots were 35-20 in favour of the Inferno.
The second game of the playoff series was a stressful game for Inferno fans. The Inferno started off the first period in the penalty box allowing Kunlun a powerplay opportunity which they took full advantage of. Taylor Marchin fired a rocket from the point, giving Kunlun a 1-0 leading early in the first. The Inferno brought the heat in the second period with Noora Raty making 15 saves to keep Kunlun’s lead at 1-0. The Inferno did not give up and Brianne Jenner scored with just over a minute left in the second to tie the game at one a piece, Blayre Turnbull and Louise Warren earned the assists. Kunlun took the lead halfway through the third period with Shiann Darkangelo beating netminder Brian on a break-away. Calgary was able to capitalize on a late powerplay in the third to even up the score. Iya Gavrilova fired a wrist shot over Raty to force extra time with Jenner earning her second assist of the game. In the opening minutes of over-time Calgary had an early opportunity in Kunlun’s end which was quickly turned over to Kunlun’s Angela James who passed the puck to Kelli Stack who assisted Stephanie Anderson with the game winning goal.
We wish the best to our 2017-18 CWHL Award Nominees, Katelyn Gosling for Defender of the Year, Sophie Shirley for Rookie of the Year and Tomas Pacina for Coach of the Year. The winners will be announced at the CWHL Award Reception on Friday the 23rd. Thanks to all Inferno fans and supporters this season!