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.

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