Monday, 20 January 2014

Ann-Sophie Bettez holds hot hand as scoring streak extended to 13 games

Heading into her second season with the Montreal Stars, there was no question that Ann-Sophie Bettez would be an impact player for their decimated roster. With scoring sensations such as Meghan Agosta-Marciano and Caroline Ouellette answering the call to compete for the Canadian contingent in Sochi, the 25 year-old native of Montreal has managed to lead a high-powered offensive attack that is setting the standard for the rest of the CWHL.

In every game this season, Bettez has recorded at least one point. Teammate Cathy Chartrand (a teammate of Bettez at McGill University), who inherited the team captaincy from Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux opened her season with a point in 12 straight games. Her streak would be snapped on January 19 in a road victory over the Boston Blades.

Complemented by talented scorers such as Vanessa (Vinny) Davidson, her former teammate at McGill University, multiple Winter Games gold medalist Sarah Vaillancourt, Marieve Provost, the all-time leading scorer in AUS play, Emmanuelle Blais, an NCAA Frozen Four champion, and Dangerous Dominqiue Thibault, Bettez and the Stars have developed into an offensive juggernaut. Currently atop the scoring race, Bettez is poised to become the fourth Stars player in franchise history to claim the Angela James Bowl.

Her impact on the scoresheet has resulted in a winning streak of eight consecutive games, placing the Stars firmly entrenched on top of the CWHL standings. While their rivals, the Boston Blades, battled with them for first place during the first half of the season, they have been unable to maintain any momentum in the second half.

During her monumental 13-game scoring streak to open her sensational sophomore campaign, the Stars boast an 8-0-0 mark in every game where she has registered at least two points. Her best performances this year were a pair of four point efforts, of which both were in January 2014.

A 9-2 whitewash of the Brampton Thunder on January 12 resulted in two goals and two assists. A crucial road win against the Boston Blades just six days later resulted in her first hat trick of the season as Brittany Ott allowed seven goals in a 7-4 loss.

Several scoring milestones have also been reached for Bettez during the sensational scoring streak this season. The 20th goal of her CWHL career was scored on December 14 versus Calgary, while number 25 was reached on January 18 versus the Blades. A December 16 affair with Calgary would provide Bettez with the 25th assist in her CWHL career, while the 50th point would come on January 12 versus Brampton, taking only 34 games to reach the mid-century mark.

The brilliance of Bettez may very well be seen on special teams play. Although she has logged only one goal on the power play, she has responded with six assists. When the Stars are shorthanded, she has contributed with four points (two goals, two assists). Of her 11 goals this season, four were game-winning goals, first among all CWHL skaters.

Her contributions on the ice have resulted in a remarkable on-ice chemistry which sees four Stars players occupying the top four slots in the CWHL scoring race. While Bettez sits atop with a league-best 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 assists, Vaillancourt is second with 22.

Following them is Chartrand at third, ranking tops among all CWHL defenders with 16 points, while Davidson also boasts 16 points. As of January 20, 2013, Davidson and Emmanuelle Blais are each less than 10 points away from reaching 100 for their career.

Should Montreal maintain this scoring prominence into the postseason, it shall provide the franchise with a favorable opportunity at redemption. With the franchise having suffered a stunning loss in the 2013 Clarkson Cup finals, a championship in 2014 would help heal those wounds. For players such as Bettez and Chartrand, who have experienced the jubilation of CIS national titles and MLP Cup victories, the chance to hoist Lady Clarkson’s coveted Cup would validate their hard work and scintillating scoring results.

Photo credits: Marc St. Pierre

No comments:

Post a Comment