Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Ashley Pendleton's CWHL comeback a story of heroism

With a beleaguered Brampton Thunder squad facing a season with the loss of its biggest leaders to Sochi, Ashley Pendleton’s CWHL comeback could not have come at a better time. Having played with the Vaughan Flames during the CWHL’s inaugural 2007-08 season, Pendleton would soon become a mainstay on Brampton’s defense.

She was on the ice for the historic 2010 Clarkson Cup, in which Brampton appeared in the finals for the first time. Despite losing to the Minnesota Whitecaps, the first American team to win the Clarkson, it was a unique chapter in hockey history that Pendleton was a part of.

Having taken a sabbatical from hockey, Pendleton attended Ontario Fire College in 2012. Of note, she is not the only female hockey player to pursue studies as a fire fighter. Amber Bowman, a former competitor with the Burlington Barracudas and Toronto Furies, is a current fire fighter with Central York Fire Services in York Region, Ontario.

While Bowman would eventually become a world champion in individual combat challenges, Pendleton would proudly follow in her footsteps. She would compete in a series of events at the college in November 2012, earning second in the team event and first in the individual combat challenge.

Her first game back with the Thunder provided positive results. A November 10, 2013 match against the newly christened Calgary Inferno would see the defensive mainstay back on her familiar position on the frozen perimeter. Appropriately, she would earn the first point in her comeback on the first goal of the game. Along with Danielle Skirrow, the two would earn the assist on Andie LeDonne’s goal at 9:08 of the first. Eventually, Brampton would prevail by a 3-2 tally in a shootout win.

Less than a week later, Pendleton would factor in another goal as the Thunder upset the defending Clarkson Cup champion Boston Blades by a 3-1 score. Despite Boston grabbing a 1-0 lead after the first period, Brampton would manage to score three unanswered goals. The final goal found Pendleton earning the lone assist on Jana Head’s goal as Brampton outshot the black and gold by an astounding 42-28 mark. 

Ironically, she competed for Brampton when they were part of the NWHL in the earlier part of the decade. As a teenage hockey phenom, she would follow her silver medal performance from the 2000 Ontario Winter Games into a run with Brampton that culminated in silver at the 2003 Esso Nationals.

Having honed her skills for head coach Michael Sisti at famed Mercyhurst College (whose alumnus includes Meghan Agosta, Vicki Bendus, Bailey Bram and Kelley Steadman); she would emerge as a fundamentally sound defender with the occasional flair for offense (as her 78 NCAA points would attest). Having earned College Hockey America All-Rookie Team and All-First Team honors, Pendleton would develop strong leadership skills.

It is such skills that make Pendleton’s CWHL comeback one of great impact. On a team that has so many new faces, it is a familiar one in Pendleton that may provide the stability and presence necessary for a postseason push. With the ambition to one day protect her community as a firefighter, Pendleton is a hero on and off the ice which makes CWHL fans glad to see her back on the ice. 

Carolyne Prevost finds scoring rhythm as she adds exciting new dimension to Toronto Furies offense

A November 23 tilt with the Brampton Thunder was more than just another chapter in The Battle of Toronto. It would mark the first pair of goals that free agent pickup Carolyne Prevost would log with the Toronto Furies. Having found her scoring touch in the 4-2 win over the Thunder, it should foreshadow many more sterling scoring performances this season.

After Tara French scored on the power play in the first period, the Furies faced a 1-0 deficit after one period of play. Less than 38 seconds into the second period, Prevost would change the momentum of the game with her first goal as a Furies competitor. A power play marker tied the score, with assists going to Furies captain Kori Cheverie and second-overall 2013 CWHL Draft pick Katie Wilson. Of note, it was Wilson’s first career CWHL point. 

The 8:11 mark of the second would find Prevost providing the blue and white with their first lead of the game. Michelle Bonello (who is making her CWHL comeback) earned the assist on Prevost’s goal as the period expired with the momentum clearly in Toronto’s favor.

Third period goals by Lisa Mullan and Kelly Zamora were scored within 36 seconds of each other, putting the game out of reach for Brampton. Despite a late marker by Natasha Fryer, it would prove to be futile as the Furies skated to a 4-2 victory.

On the strength of Prevost’s two second period goals, it was the type of leadership that Toronto will be expecting this season from the accomplished skater. With the absence of luminaries such as Rebecca Johnston, Natalie Spooner and Jenn Wakefield chasing their golden dreams in Sochi, the Furies faced a depleted offense for 2013-14. The arrival of Prevost would serve as a blessing in disguise for the blue and white.

As a two-time NCAA Frozen Four champion with the Wisconsin Badgers, where she played along the likes of Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight and Jessie Vetter, Prevost brings maturity and a strong understanding of what is required to win. Having also played alongside her hockey hero Caroline Ouellette as a rookie with the Montreal Stars in 2012-13, it helped to elevate her already sparkling game. 

Ironically, the pursuit of furthering her education landed her with the Furies. Conducting her teacher’s college education in sciences (in the French language), her studies brought her to the Toronto campus of the University of Ottawa. While she maintains her goal of becoming an educator, the blue and white offer her the chance to continue her hockey dreams.

In Prevost’s illustrious career, she has managed to make women’s hockey history on the bookends of 2013. Early in the year, she would be part of the Canadian National Team’s training camp at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. Of note, she would play with the National Team in a series of exhibition games against boys’ teams.

By suiting up for the team in January 2013, she would become part of a rare group of women born in the province of Ontario (including Natalie Spooner, Jenn Wakefield and Brianne Jenner) to have competed with the Canadian National Under-18, Under-22/Development and Senior Teams. Considering that Prevost is also a provincial champion in taekwondo and an avid competitor in CrossFit, this rare triple crown in hockey may be her greatest legacy.

By autumn 2013, Prevost would manage to accomplish a feat that no other women in the history of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League had done. By signing with the Toronto Furies as a free agent, she would become the second woman in CWHL history (following Jesse Scanzano) to play with both Montreal and Toronto. On such strong momentum, she may have the opportunity for one more historic event, leading the Furies to their first-ever Clarkson Cup. 

Friday, 22 November 2013

Women’s hockey pioneer Cassie Campbell celebrates her fortieth birthday

For many Canadian hockey fans, their initial exposure to Cassie Campbell came on the cover of Elm Street Magazine in 1997. Shortly afterwards, the cover of Chatelaine and an appearance in the documentary The Game of Her Life would follow as she prepared for the 1998 Nagano Winter Games. Fast forward to 2013 and the thought of hockey’s girl next door turning 40 is surprising.

It only seemed like yesterday that Campbell was an integral component of the Canadian national women’s hockey team. A nation of fans watched her career grow as she became the first captain to lead a Canadian team to consecutive gold medals at the Winter Games. It would be part of a body of work that included a staggering 21 medals, including 17 which were gold.  

Although her career eventually reached its twilight, her contribution to the game did not. From broadcasting to instructing to charitable work, she never stopped in her efforts to help the game grow. Part of those efforts also includes a position with the CWHL Board of Directors. At the hub of key growth for professional women’s hockey in Canada, Campbell’s acumen is essential for the budding league.

While she tearfully retired many seasons ago, a nation felt equally sad. Campbell was more than just an athlete but a builder for female sport in Canada. Always conducting herself with grace and dignity, she never let her celebrity status get in the way of interacting with fans. Even though she no longer graces the ice as a competitor, Campbell is a pleasant memory of the game’s rebirth in the 1990’s. Of note, a new generation of young girls looks up to her as a hockey hero and a role model.

Having spent so many years giving to hockey and inspiring young women, there has been no shortage of those who have given back to her. From getting the opportunity to be part of the Vancouver Winter Games Torch Relay to earning an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Ottawa, the awards and honors that have been bestowed on her have been well earned.

Campbell turning 40 symbolizes how much the game of women’s hockey has grown and developed, her presence is testament to the sport’s relevance. Before the decade expires, other hockey heroes like Jayna Hefford, Caroline Ouellette and Hayley Wickenheiser shall also reach the magical number of 40. Having played alongside Campbell, their milestone birthdays will help fans to reflect on more than just the game’s growth, but celebrate the heroes who have helped to establish it. Here is hoping for another forty wonderful years.

All-Ontario final featuring familiar coaches highlights Canadian Under-18 Nationals

The Ontario Women’s Hockey Association was proudly represented at the 2013 Canadian Under-18 Nationals. Contested in Alberta, Rink A of the Marion MacPhail Centre found Team Ontario Red facing off against Team Ontario Blue in the gold medal game.

Adding a touch of irony to the game was the invovelment of the coaches. Bradi Cochrane was part of Team Ontario Blue’s coaching staff at the 2012 U18 Nats. An underdog at the event, Cochrane and Team Blue would take home the gold medal. Kim McCullough, the founder of Total Female Hockey served with Dave Gwyn and Shaun Reagan with Team Ontario Red in 2012. Favored to win the event, Team Red would garner a bronze medal.

This year, Cochrane was the head coach of Team Ontario Red while McCullough served as head coach of Team Ontario Blue. Two of the rising stars in the coaching ranks, the gold medal game was their coming out party.

In the first period, Team Red came out strong as they outshot Team Blue by an astounding 16-5 margin. Goaltender Shea Tiley (Waterloo PWHL) worked tirelessly for Team Blue as the first half of said period was a defensive stalemate. Brooke Hartwick (Bluewater PWHL) gave Team Red the 1-0 lead at the 12:19 mark. With only five seconds to go, Nadine Edney (Mississauga PWHL) logged a power play goal for Team Red as Kirsten Welsh (Whitby PWHL) served a minor for body checking. It was one of four power plays that Team Red enjoyed in the first.

While Team Blue made some adjustments and would outshoot Team Red by a 14-7 tally in the second stanza, they could not erase their deficit. Kassidy Sauve (Whitby PWHL) was solid between the pipes for Team Red as they would extend their lead to a 5-0 mark before Team Blue scored.

Goals by Rebecca Leslie (Ottawa PWHL), Edney and Lauren Wildfang (Toronto PWHL) were logged in a timespan of 11 minutes and 37 seconds as two were on the power play. With Wildfang serving a penalty in the final minute of the period, Kennedy Marchment (Durham West PWHL) put Team Blue on the scoreboard.

Heading into the final frame, Team Red enjoyed an insurmountable lead. Another three goals would be scored in the frame but the squad could never capitalize on the power play. Of note, Team Blue would be penalized four times in the frame.

Teammates with the Toronto Jr. Aeros of the PWHL, Taytum Clairmont and Mackenzie MacNeil would provide the scoring for Team Red. MacNeil would score at 6:03 while Clairmont had a game to remember. 
She would score shorthanded early in the third while logging the game’s final goal at the 10:25 mark for a five point output. Both goals in the first period were assisted by Clairmont, while she assisted on Edney’s goal in the second. With points in every period of the game, she was clearly the game’s most outstanding performer.

In addition, Clairmont would finish the event as Team Red’s leading scorer, having accumulated six points. Following her were Victoria Bach and Rebecca Leslie with five points each. Team Blue’s leading scorer would be Marchment as she registered three goals and four assists for a sparkling seven points. Kirsten Miller was second on Team Blue with four points.

With many of the contestants in the gold medal game having been invited to Team Canada’s National Under-18 evaluation camp, there is no question that the future of women’s hockey in Ontario remains strong. Heading into the IIHF 2014 U18 Women’s Worlds, fans should get accustomed to hearing names such as Clairmont, Marchment and Sauve. 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Shannon Miller’s 350th career NCAA win part of a remarkable year

While women like Digit Murphy and Katey Stone have carved remarkable legacies as coaches in NCAA women’s hockey, Shannon Miller reached a new milestone in autumn 2013 with the 350th win of her storied career as head coach of the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. In becoming the third coach in NCAA history to reach the plateau, her ability to recruit, motivate and surround herself with quality people is testament to her great legacy.

A 6-1 win over the rebuilding Connecticut Huskies supplied Miller with the historic triumph as a pair of power play goals by Jamie Kenyon set the tone early in the game. At 14:53 in the first, Ashleigh Brykaliuk would extend UMD’s lead to a 3-0 tally. Before the period would expire, Sarah MacDonnell would put the Huskies on the scoreboard.

Only one goal would be scored in the second period but it was a historic one. At the 10:28 mark of the second, Alivia Del Basso would log her first career NCAA goal, making her the first player from Australia to score a goal in the NCAA. Katherine McGovern and Bailey Wright would close out the scoring in the final frame. 

Of note, it was fitting that Del Basso's first goal would come during such a milestone event. With Miller having been the first NCAA coach to openly recruit from Europe (during the 2012-13 season, players from seven different countries suited up for the Bulldogs), Del Basso’s goal was testament to help grow the game internationally.

Regarding the international game, Miller would also serve as part of the IIHF’s Mentorship and Ambassadorship Program. As part of an effort to assist a handful of countries become more competitive, Miller was a coaching mentor to the Russian national hockey team. Miller was in the stands during the 2013 IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championships in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada as the Russians claimed a silver medal.

The IIHF Worlds in Ottawa would also come to signify another memorable moment in 2013 for Miller. Having led Canada to a gold medal at the 1997 IIHF Worlds (and a silver medal at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games), Miller was part of a group of former Canadian players and coaches who were part of a special reunion in Ottawa. During the intermission of Canada’s game against Finland, Miller was among two dozen Hockey Canada alumni who were introduced to the fans.

Of greater importance was the fact that Angela James was also part of the group. Despite James’ release from the 1998 Nagano team, it created a wedge between Miller and James, becoming one of the most controversial events in Canadian hockey history. Seeing the two of them together in such a gathering was perhaps an important way to provide closure while moving forward.

With a hockey legacy that is unmatched, Miller has come a long way from her roots as a student at the University of Saskatchewan. Having helped spur the rebirth of the sport in the 1990’s, Miller is more than just a pioneer, but an integral part of the game’s history over the last two decades. Fans can only hope that once her hockey journey comes to its end, it shall do so with deserved membership in the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

Monday, 18 November 2013

Hockey Hall of Famer Geraldine Heaney so much more than an accomplished player

While Geraldine Heaney has reached the pinnacle of hockey with a well-deserved spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame, there is so much more to her than a distinguished playing career. As the third woman inducted into the HHOF, fans and media alike have showered her with praise over her legendary goal at the landmark IIHF Women’s Worlds in 1990.

Heaney is part of a generation of women’s hockey pioneers that are contributing to the game in roles of mentors and leaders. Many of the women that Heaney competed with at the 1998 and 2002 Winter Games are doing just that. With the IIHF Ambassador and Mentor Program (AMP), former teammates such as France St. Louis, Fiona Smith, Jennifer Botterill and Therese Brisson are helping to build the sport with developing nations in the sport.

With a young family, Heaney is helping to build the game at the grassroots level. She spent a handful of seasons as the head coach with the Waterloo Warriors of Canadian Interuniversity Sport. Currently, she is the head coach for her daughter’s team, the Ancaster Avalanche.

As the 2013 IIHF Women’s Worlds were held in Ottawa, it was more than an opportunity for Heaney to be re-introduced to a new generation of sports fans in the city that established her as a global icon in hockey. Along with some former teammates from the Canadian national team, Heaney would grace the Rideau Canada for an outdoor game against some alumni of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators.

During this magical 2013 for Heaney, she coached her Avalanche squad to a spot in the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association provincial championships, which was also held in Ottawa. Of note, both events were held simultaneously in Ottawa. The opportunity to see her daughter play in the OWHA provincials may have been the most gratifying aspect in her return to Ottawa.

Ironically, the Ottawa area would have one more profound impact on Heaney’s 2013. From August 10-18, the Ottawa suburb of Rockland, Ontario hosted the Canadian National Women’s Under-18 Team Selection Camp. Having been trained by Heaney at her hockey camp, defender Hailey Noronha was one of the players invited to Rockland.

Noronha may one day follow in Heaney’s footsteps and suit up for the National Team. Having helped the Whitby Wolves to the 2013 PWHL championship, her hard work paid remarkable dividends. To add to the irony, Noronha’s coach at the U18 Camp was Laura Schuler, who played with Heaney at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games.

While the Geraldine Heaney Hockey Academy may one day serve as the pipeline for more quality talent such as Noronha, it is testament to Heaney’s commitment to help shape the next generation of female hockey talent. Although no one can dispute Heaney’s entry into the hallowed Hall, there is no question that the world of women’s hockey has not heard the last of this remarkable woman.  

Photo credit: Stephen Whyno, Canadian Press

Bradi Cochrane one of the rising stars of women’s hockey

As the sport of women’s hockey continues to experience unprecedented growth and foundations are set in place for a strong future, a key element will be the quality of coaching. Bradi Cochrane is not only a top quality coach but is one of the true rising stars in the game of women’s hockey.

While remarkable women such as Shannon Miller, Digit Murphy and Melody Davidson helped establish a presence of quality female coaching in hockey, a new generation of stars is helping to carry on their work. Coaches such as Cochrane and Kim McCullough (head coach of Team Ontario Blue in 2013) are part of this new group of female coaches building on their legacy.

Currently serving as the head coach of the Oakville Hornets in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League, quite possibly the most talented junior girls hockey league in North America, she has helped develop many of her players into competitors for the Ontario U18 teams (Red and Blue), Canada U18 national squad and post-secondary leagues such as the NCAA and CIS.

At the 2013 Canadian Under-18 Nationals, Cochrane would be the bench boss as Team Ontario Red claimed the gold medal. Of note, it was the second consecutive gold that she would win in her storied coaching career. In 2012, she was part of Team Ontario Blue’s coaching staff which grabbed the gold.

Part of her commitment to being a top coach is also surrounding herself with remarkable people. With Team Ontario Red, Cochrane had Kim Devereaux and Keven Schram as assistant coaches. Amanda Mazzotta, one of the greatest Ivy League goaltenders of the last decade, served as the video coach on her coaching staff.

At Oakville, one of her assistant coaches is Shannon Moulson. While Moulson’s brother is a competitor with the Buffalo Sabres, she is also in pro hockey. As a member of the Toronto Furies in the CWHL, she competes against some of the world’s finest women’s hockey players.

Of note, Cochrane has many remarkable ties to the CWHL. As a former player at Niagara University, past Purple Eagles players such as Jody Katz and Lindsay Vine would also carve remarkable careers in the CWHL. Vine commented on Cochrane’s friendship and her coaching influence,

“Bradi Cochrane is a good friend of mine. She has a great head for the game and helped me through my four years at Niagara. She really knows the game of hockey and helped us a lot.”

Every season that goes by is testament to Cochrane’s strong coaching talent. In addition to coaching, she also serves as an instructor at Amy Turek’s Victory Hockey School. While there is no question that she is equally deserving of one day earning a spot with Team Canada’s U18 coaching staff or with a coaching role in the CWHL, she is helping to positively influence a generation of young women’s players while serving as a role model for other former players looking to make the move into the realm of coaching.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Canada claims Four Nations Gold over Finland amidst sad news

In anticipation of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, the 2013 Four Nations Cup was meant to be an indicator of how the nations of Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United States were prepared. Traditionally, the gold medal game is another chapter in the eternal rivalry between Canada and the US. Oddly, the United States would not qualify for its typical spot in the final.

Instead, Canada found itself competing an upstart squad from Finland. While first period goals from Jenelle Kohanchuk, Vicki Bendus, Jennifer Wakefield and Brianne Jenner would provide Canada with a 4-1 lead, putting the game out of reach, 
the contest was not without its surprises.

While Finland would manage another two goals in the game, both were scored on power play opportunities. With less than three minutes remaining in the second stanza, Bailey Bram was serving her second slashing penalty of the game. In the third, she would be penalized for delay of game. Anna Kilponen would bury the puck past Charline Labonte for the only goal of the period. Perhaps Finland’s most impressive stat of the second was the fact that they successfully nullified three Canadian power play opportunities.

Although Kohanchuk extended Canada’s lead back to three goals in the final frame, penalty problems would plague Canada. Brigette Lacquette would get called for a tripping penalty, opening the door for Finland to capitalize. Susanna Tapani would score with assists going to Jenni Hiirikoski and Michelle Karvinen. A late goal by Haley Irwin would result in a 6-3 score, which would remain the final score.

During the four games of the event, Canada averaged 4.25 goals per game, as its high powered offense also capitalized on power play opportunities throughout the tourney with a convincing 27.8 percentage. An 81% penalty kill performance also topped all competitors at the Four Nations. Spooner would lead all skaters with four goals, while Meghan Agosta-Marciano had a team-best four assists.

Following the gold medal victory, an announcement on November 12 surprised many hockey fans as Bonhomme, along with Pursuit of Excellence alumni Brigette Lacquette and Boston University mainstay Jenelle Kohanchuk were released from centralization. Considering Lacquette is still young, there will likely be another opportunity for 2018.

During the gold medal game, Kohanchuk would lead all scorers in the Four Nations Cup gold medal contest with two goals. With due deference to Kohanchuk, a hard-working forward that showed signs of promise, she was an underdog with consideration to the amount of talent at the forward position.

For many fans, the news of Bonhomme’s release is one that is still difficult to absorb. A few days earlier, she had competed in her 100th career game with Canada. As one of the most popular women’s players in the world, the release of Bonhomme was a complete and utter shock to hockey fans evoking powerful emotions. While she turned to social media to thank her fans, she was one of the most charismatic women’s hockey players since Vancouver 2010. Hopefully, there will be many more golden moments in Bonhomme’s storied career.  

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Future is now for Furies and Inferno during a landmark contest

With parity being the theme of the 2013-14 CWHL season, the Toronto Furies and Calgary Inferno are looking to reach unprecedented heights. Of note, the Furies are looking to return to their first Clarkson Cup final since 2011 while the Inferno are looking for their first postseason berth. Riding strong momentum courtesy of NHL sponsorship, the November 9 tilt at the MasterCard Centre showed some of the most promising stars gracing the frozen perimeter.

It would only take 80 seconds for the first goal to be scored. Alyssa Baldin, the only 2013 CWHL Draft Pick to have played in both NCAA Division I and CIS hockey would open the scoring with an unassisted marker. While the goal represented a significant milestone in her career as it was her first in CWHL play, there were two other factors that made it more special. Considering it was scored in  her CWHL debut, Baldin’s goal would also signify the first scored of the season by any Furies player.

A power play opportunity would not be wasted by the Furies as they added to their lead. With only seven seconds remaining in Calgary’s first penalty of the game (a hooking call to Laura Dostaler), Jessica Vella would log a power play marker at the 5:17 mark of the first frame. Like Baldin, it would be her first career goal in her CWHL debut. Ironically, Baldin would earn an assist on the goal while Martine Garland also assisted on the go-ahead goal.

Before the first frame would expire, the Furies would bury a third goal past Kathryn Desjardins. Former McGill Martlets hero Jordanna Peroff would score at the 11:51 mark as Toronto enjoyed a 3-0 lead. Like the first two goals of the period, a theme would emerge as another player earned their first career point on a Furies goal. While longtime Furies veteran Lexie Hoffmeyer earned a nod on the tally, Furies second round pick and Syracuse alum Holly Carrie-Mattimoe would earn her first career CWHL point with an assist.

Although the second stanza was scoreless, physical play became emerged as Calgary was desperate to get on the scoreboard. Long-time CWHL veteran Kelly Zamora would be called for roughing at 7:04 as it was the first of four penalties in the second.

Calgary’s Erica Kromm, whose father played in the NHL, was called for slashing roughly a minute after Zamora exited the penalty box. Teen phenom Maddy Haller (like Kromm, her father was also an NHL vet) would be called for Too Many Players while Kromm was still serving her penalty. While Calgary nullified the two-player advantage on the power play, they were unable to score on Furies netminder (and CWHL co-founder) Sami Jo Small. Before the second would expire, Shannon Moulson (whose brother was traded to the Buffalo Sabres) got a roughing call for Toronto, their second of the period.

Heading into the final frame, Calgary would bounce back as they managed to solve Small. The scoring would begin at the 5:47 mark as Julie Paetsch earned an unassisted score versus Small. While Paetsch won the Canada West scoring title in CIS play several seasons ago, she has made a unique mark on CWHL history. Having played in the Western Women’s Canadian Football League, Paetsch has also competed with the Canadian National Women’s Football Team at the IFAF Women’s Championships. She would help Canada grab the silver in 2010 and 2013.

As the first WWCFL player ever drafted in CWHL history, it created a unique chapter in Canadian women’s sporting history. The opportunity for Paetsch to score said goal against Sami Jo Small only makes it so much sweeter.

Playing the remaining seconds of the final frame with an extra attacker, Inferno veteran Taryn Peacock would manage to score to reduce Toronto’s lead to just one goal. Despite their valiant play, Calgary was unable to tie the game and force overtime. The Furies best efforts were on display in the frame as they would outshoot the Furies by an 11-4 mark.  

Baldin would earn the First Star of the Game as she led all scorers with two points. Vella would earn the Second Star while Paetsch was named the Third Star. It was only fitting that the honor would be bestowed upon them as all three would score their first career goal while making their CWHL debut.

Crosstown rivalry holds greater meaning with Pink at the Rink event

As one of the most visceral rivalries in CIS women’s hockey, the Carleton Ravens and Ottawa Gee-Gees renewed their rivalry in a November 9 tussle. The most exceptional element of the game was that it featured the Gee-Gees’ Pink at the Rink effort.

With several members of the Gee-Gees volunteering in charitable efforts in the community, the opportunity to participate in a fundraiser for breast cancer represented a great point of pride. Part of the philosophy of head coach Yanick Evola is to emphasize the importance that being a Gee-Gee involves being part of the community.

Boasting an undefeated home record against the Ravens this season, the Pink at the Rink event helped to outline the defensive wizardry of Victoria Germuska. Having emerged as a key component of the defensive game, she has also incorporated an element of offense as the Gee-Gees are one of the top teams in the QSSF.

Ravens goaltender Eri Kiribuchi was a key factor in the contest remaining scoreless after one period of play. With the Gee-Gees outshooting the Ravens by a 14-10 margin in the first frame, it would prove to be a busy affair for the Ravens netminder.

The 3:02 mark of the second stanza would see the Gee-Gees break the deadlock as Cindy Laurin buried the puck with a solid effort. Despite the defensive pressure from the Ravens, Laurin had solid puck control in the crease, bouncing the puck off a Ravens blueliner into the net. With assists going to Maude Laramee and Carolann Upshall, it marked the beginning of the Gee-Gees trying to add to their lead.

Applying pressure throughout the period, their persistence would pay off on the power play. With fifth-year player Kelsey VanderVeen serving a checking penalty, the Gee-Gees capitalized. As there were only five seconds remaining in the power play, Maude Laramee scored for her second point of the game. Cynthia Wissell and veteran Asha Kauffeldt logged the assists.

As the first fifteen minutes of the final frame were scoreless, the Ravens played with a sense of urgency. Despite having two Gee-Gees in the penalty box for a period of over 30 seconds, the Ravens failed to take advantage.

With Kiribuchi having made 25 saves in the first two periods, she was essential in nullifying two Gee-Gees power plays in the third. Providing the Ravens with a calming presence, Ainslee Kent would spoil Stephanie Mercier’s shutout bid with only 3:08 remaining.

Although the Ravens would outshoot the Gee-Gees in the third, any effort to tie the game was spoiled once Carolann Upshall logged an empty-net goal with 21 seconds remaining in the contest. While the Gee-Gees went on to prevail by a 3-1 tally, the true winners were the potential lives saved with the $1,000 raised for breast cancer research.