Thursday, 18 June 2015

Rebecca Johnston reaches new heights in season to remember

Quite possibly the most underrated superstar in the game today, Rebecca Johnston had a season to remember with the Calgary Inferno. Her acquisition not only signaled a commitment on the part of the Inferno to significantly upgrade their offensive attack, it reunited her with the likes of Bailey Bram and Haley Irwin, who contributed to Canada’s gold medal win at the 2012 IIHF Women’s World Championships.

A record-breaking season with the Inferno not only solidified Johnston’s status as a franchise player in the CWHL, her league-best 37 points made her the finest free-agent signing of the off-season. Not only did she set new franchise scoring records, it set the tone for the finest season in Inferno history. Of note, the club set a new record for most wins in one season, while finishing just two points out of first overall.

For her efforts, Johnston was recognized with the CWHL’s Most Outstanding Player Award, beating out fellow nominees such as Toronto’s Natalie Spooner and Boston’s Hilary Knight. Becoming the first player in Inferno history to garner the prestigious honor, it complemented another historic milestone for Johnston, who finished the season as the league’s leading scorer, claiming the Angela James Bowl.

Of note, the accumulation of such hockey hardware was an extension of another historic performance during the season for Johnston. In December 2014, Johnston led the third-period charge for Team Red at the inaugural CWHL All-Star Game. Coming back from a 2-0 deficit to prevail by a 3-2 mark, Johnston would make history by logging the first game-winning goal in All-Star Game history. In the game’s aftermath, she was recognized with First Star honors.

Throughout her magical season, Johnston set the tone early on. Making her debut with the Inferno on October 18, 2014, she scored two goals in a hard fought 5-4 loss against the Toronto Furies, her former club team. The following day, Johnston would provide an even more impressive effort. Recording four points on the strength of three assists in a 5-2 win versus the Brampton Thunder.

Before the month would expire, Johnston would log the game winning goal on October 25, setting the tone for the exciting season to come. By January 16, Johnston would tie Danny Stone’s franchise mark for most points in one season. On that same day, Jenna Cunningham became the first player to record 50 points as a member of the Inferno.

The following day, Johnston would earn two assists to claim the single season scoring record as her own. Complementing the achievement was Brittany Esposito tying Danny Stone’s record for most points in one season by an Inferno rookie.

Recording at least one point in 19 regular season games, the Inferno enjoyed a 14-5-0 mark. Johnston’s greatest legacy may have been the fact that her presence altered the league’s balance of power.

Of note, the Inferno would beat the Boston Blades in a December 5 road win. The 8-3 final marked the largest margin of victory on the road against the black and gold. The momentum would continue on January 31, as the club prevailed in Montreal for the first time in franchise history.

Continuing the high scoring ways that established her as an elite scorer with the Cornell Big Red, earning two Winter Games gold medals along the way, Johnston possesses the unique ability of making those around her better. While she transforms the spectacular into routine, her masterful demonstration of scoring success has established her as a fan favorite in Calgary.

No comments:

Post a Comment