Jan. 6, 2019 – Back-to-back wins over the Markham Thunder allowed the Calgary Inferno to retain top spot in the CWHL standings, however, Montreal closed the gap, winning both games against Toronto this weekend. Calgary now has 29 points and Montreal 28.
The Inferno defeated the Thunder with a dramatic 4-3 overtime victory on Saturday, Jan. 5. Then won 5-4 on Sunday, Jan. 6, fending off a Thunder attack right until the end of the game.
Saturday’s win saw the Inferno rally from a first period 1-0 deficit, scored by Laura Fortino on the powerplay. Calgary was outshot 18-6 in the first period, but got back into the game as the contest went on. They took the lead in the second period with goals from Rebecca Johnston and Blayre Turnbull just 1:33 apart. With just under five minutes to go in the game Brianne Jenner increased the Inferno’s lead to 3-1, but the Thunder rallied back, forcing overtime with two goals of their own by Kristen Barbara and Victoria Bach just 2:20 apart (including Bach’s game-tying goal with only 31 seconds remaining in regulation). But with a 5-1 margin in shots in overtime, it was the Inferno who were victorious, with Kacey Bellamy potting the winner with just 13 seconds remaining in the overtime period. Alex Rigsby made 37 of 40 stops for the victory. Bellamy’s heroics made her the first star of the game, while Turnbull was second star, and Markham’s Jamie Lee Rattray third.
Sunday the Thunder struck first once again. With a 1:08 five-on-three thanks to tripping and cross checking penalties by Erica Kromm and Brigette Lacquette, Jenna McParland opened the scoring with a powerplay goal. With Lacquette still in the box, Megan Bozek doubled the Thunder’s lead to 2-0 in the first period with a powerplay marker of her own. The Inferno came roaring back, however, scoring five straight goals, with four coming in the second period. Jenner got things started for the Inferno with an early powerplay goal with Taylor Woods sitting in the box for a delay of game, and Katelyn Gosling soon after scored the equalizer. Then, with Kristen Richards in the box for tripping, Jenner once again scored on the powerplay, giving the Inferno their first lead of the game. Johnston added to it late in the second, making it 4-2 Inferno. Turnbull gave the Inferno a three-goal lead with her own tally just over halfway through the third period, and the Inferno needed it: just 50 seconds later, Fortino scored to draw the Thunder back within two. With just over two minutes to go, Lacquette took a holding penalty, and 56 seconds later, Dakota Woodworth went to the box for tripping, giving the Thunder another five-on-three to work with – one that turned into a six-on-three with the goalie pulled. Rattray scored with 15 seconds left in the game, just after Lacquette’s penalty expired, to draw the Thunder back within one, but that was all they were able to get, as the Inferno captured the 5-4 victory. Rigsby made 30 of 34 stops for her second win of the weekend. Jenner’s two goals landed her first star of the game, Turnbull’s game-winner the second, and Bozek was the third star.
The Inferno return to action Saturday, Jan. 12 in Calgary, hosting the Toronto Furies at 6:30 p.m. at WinSport’s Arena A. The game will be the annual “Start the Spark” game for youth mental health awareness, in support of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre. The game will see the Inferno wear their limited edition purple jerseys, to be auctioned off later, with proceeds going to the SKCAC.
The Inferno will also host the Furies on Jan. 13 at 12 pm. at the Pason Centennial Arena in Okotoks.