After a long and exciting season, it has all come down to Sunday afternoon at Coca-Cola Coliseum as Les Canadiennes de Montreal battle it out with the Calgary Inferno for the 2019 Clarkson Cup Championship.
On Tuesday, The Canadian Press reported that Marie-Philip Poulin’s health status was in question for the game, but after having skated on Saturday afternoon, her doctors decided that she was not medically cleared to return to the ice for Les Canadiennes.
In the winner takes all game, Caroline Ouellette would call on Emerance Maschmeyer between the pipes for Montreal, taking on the Calgary Inferno who would call on Alex Rigsby for duties as netminder.
After Shawn Hook sung the national anthems, the game got off to a hot and quick start, Les Canadiennes jumping on the puck early, skating into the Calgary Inferno zone looking to get things going.
Rebecca Johnston would turn it around, taking it towards Emerance Maschemeyer and Les Canadiennes, hitting the crossbar but just coming short to keep the game tied scoreless to start it all out.
After a retrieval from Montreal, the game would take it’s first stoppage of play, Montreal then pouncing on the puck right away to keep things rolling in the Inferno zone. This, however, wouldn’t last as Rebecca Johnston would regain possession and take another hard shot on Maschmeyer.
Brianna Decker would then receive the pass, sending it out front to Brianne Jenner, though unable to poke it by Maschmeyer, keeping things in check for Les Canadiennes between the pipes.
Jill Saulnier would then get tied up along the left side boards near Montreal’s net, sending Sarah Lefort to the box as Montreal would receive their first penalty. Les Canadiennes would kill it off quickly, bringing the game back to even strength, Taylor Willard with a shot from the point but saved by Rigsby to stop play once again.
The puck would then be drawn from the right-side dot in the Inferno zone, Melodie Daoust taking the draw for Montreal, Les Canadiennes winning the draw. Calgary would then turn it over, Kacey Bellamy receiving the puck, sending it forward to Zoe Hickel who would slap it past Maschmeyer to open the scoring.
Montreal, looking for revenge, would send it around to the Calgary zone, though Alex Rigsby would not allow it, leading to another solid save and a brief stoppage in play. With Les Canadiennes remaining put, Erin Ambrose would take the shot from the Calgary blue line, though coming short which would give Kim Deschenes possession of the puck behind Alex Rigsby and the Inferno net.
This would halt the play with just over eight minutes left remaining in the game’s opening period. The puck would then be drawn from the left-side dot in Montreal’s zone, Daoust once against facing off, this time against American forward Brianna Decker.
After Catherine Daoust received possession along the left side boards nearby the benches, the game would be brought to a stop before commencing again just a moment later.
This would give Calgary the chance to start off strong from the draw with Montreal, Blayre Turnbull passing the puck to Halli Krzyzaniak who would double the Inferno’s lead with just six minutes left to play.
From the centre ice draw, both teams would keep up the fight, though unable to find holes on either side, bringing the game to a brief stoppage in play.
From the left-side dot in Montreal’s zone, the Inferno would stay in Les Canadiennes zone, Brianna Decker out front of the net though unable to poke it by Emerance Maschmeyer.
Brigette Lacquette would then take a shot on Maschmeyer from the blue line in Montreal’s zone, though she would make the save and turn it over to Les Canadiennes, though the Inferno would come skating back.
From behind Montreal’s net, Erin Ambrose would send it ahead, though Calgary would retrieve possession before bringing it back towards Maschmeyer and Les Canadiennes zone. This would bring the draw back to centre ice with just three minutes to play.
After the game was halted near Montreal’s net, the puck would be dropped from the right-side dot in Les Canadiennes zone, able to turn it around into the Inferno zone, though for a brief time before losing possession.
Maschmeyer would then face a pair of chances with just over a minute left to play, Montreal able to send it ahead, though turned over by the Inferno to bring the first frame to a close.
The second period would open up from the centre ice draw, Daoust taking the draw against Brigette Lacquette and the Calgary Inferno. Les Canadiennes would start off strong, sending the puck into the opposing zone, though it would be quickly turned over before Hilary Knight gained possession along the boards. This would then give Sarah Lefort a chance out front of Alex Rigsby and the Calgary net.
The Inferno would then turn it over along the boards towards Montreal, though Les Canadiennes would try to maintain possession before the first brief stoppage of play in the period was called.
The puck would then be dropped from the left-side dot in Montreal’s zone, Erin Ambrose putting up a fight to keep the puck on hers tick along the left-side boards. Ambrose would then send the puck up to Ann-Sophie Bettez by the Inferno net, though unable to poke it by Rigsby, keeping the frame in check in the first four minutes.
Just a moment later with another opportunity at her display, Bettez would make no mistake, putting Montreal on the board just five minutes in. This would give Calgary a 2-1 lead over Les Canadiennes.
The Inferno, pushing to do more, would take a shot on Emerance Maschmeyer, though Montreal would turn it around before another brief stoppage of play was called. Kim Deschenes then found an empty hole, though unable to poke it through before Hilary Knight, out front of the net, would just come short of tying it up.
From the left-side dot in Montreal’s zone, Daoust and Lacquette would face off again, Calgary winning the draw, though, Bettez would interfere with the play while just merely missing Rigsby and the Inferno net.
Lauriane Rougeau would then be sent to the penalty box for hooking, bringing the play to four-on-four in the Montreal zone with the Inferno looking to do more damage while Les Canadiennes attempted to keep them limited.
Jill Saulnier and Brigette Lacquette would then get in a foot race behind the Inferno net, taking the puck to the left-side boards before being called on a brief stoppage of play.
With Montreal now turning it around, Bettez would pace into the Inferno zone with the puck, coming just feet of Alex Rigsby, though going just wide of the Calgary net. Les Canadiennes wouldn’t back down, giving Jill Saulnier a chance of her own, but both goaltenders staying on their toes would send the game to a brief stoppage of play.
From the right-side dot in the Montreal zone, Erin Ambrose would be called for hooking, putting them on the penalty with the Calgary Inferno on the power play. This would make for a pair of chances on Les Canadiennes goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer, though she would hold her own ground, keeping the puck out and away from the crease.
In the expiring seconds of the Inferno power play, Kacey Bellamy would retrieve the puck, sending it ahead to Brianna Decker who would put Calgary up 3-1 on Les Canadiennes. This would bring the game back to even strength six minutes left to play.
Jill Saulnier, looking to double Montreal’s lead, would head up towards Alex Rigsby, though unable to bank it in before the puck was turned around and back into the Calgary zone. Katelyn Gosling would then take a shot, though going wide of Les Canadiennes net.
With just four minutes left to play, the puck would be drawn from the left-side dot in the Inferno zone, Les Canadiennes winning the face-off with Hilary Knight taking a shot on Alex Rigsby. The two sides would then battle again from the left-side dot in the Inferno zone, Melodie Daoust in a scrum in front the net, poking it out for Hilary Knight.
With a five-on-three now in effect for Montreal and two minutes left to play, Ann-Sophie Bettez would net her second of the game on assists from Erin Ambrose as well as Hilary Knight. This would give Calgary a 3-2 lead on Les Canadiennes.
In the final minute of play, Montreal would take control, Melodie Daoust behind the Inferno net before sending it up and ahead of Alex Rigsby. Les Canadiennes would continue to keep the puck away from the Inferno as the final seconds of play counted down on the game’s middle frame.
The third and final period would get off to a booming start from centre ice, Les Canadiennes starting off strong in the Calgary zone right off the face off and coming ever so close to tying things up at three.
Montreal would remain steady from the right-side dot in their respective zone, Kim Deschenes with a pass to Sarah Lefort, merely netting the tying goal past Alex Rigsby and the Inferno. Calgary would then send the puck out of the zone towards Emercance Maschmeyer, though nothing would come of it in the Inferno zone.
Hilary Knight would then gain possession just out front of the Calgary net, though unable to do anything with it, bringing the game to a brief stoppage of play. From the face off, the Inferno would fight hard while looking to down Montreal en route to the victory, Zoe Hickel with her second of game on an assist from Kacey Bellamy. This would give the Inferno a 4-2 lead over Les Canadiennes.
With ten minutes now gone in the Montreal zone, Blayre Turnbull would keep things rolling for Calgary, a close wrap around chance taken on Les Canadiennes but saved and stopped by Emerance Maschmeyer.
With the puck sent forward to the Inferno zone, Montreal would look to put one up on Rigsby, though they would lose possession with the puck sent out and back towards Emerance Maschmeyer in Les Canadiennes zone. This would then bring the play to a brief stoppage of play.
From the left-side dot in the Inferno zone, Les Canadiennes would win the face off, quickly sending it into the crease in front of Rigsby who, in front of a scrum, would make a sprawling glove save.
Montreal, not backing down, would take another shot on Rigsby, but turned around and sent back to Les Canadiennes, though keeping up with the fight against a battling Calgary team. Kelty Apperson would then take a shot but stopped and sent forward by Emerance Maschmeyer.
With just two minutes left and Les Canadiennes in the Inferno zone, Montreal would continue with their dying efforts as the net was vacated while down 4-2, this ultimately bringing the game to its final brief stoppage of play.
Karell Emard would then stand tall out front of Rigsby and the Calgary net, Les Canadiennes with one last shot while looking to put a goal up on Calgary.
With just 45 seconds left to play in the third and final period, Halli Krzyzaniak would slap the puck from behind Alex Rigsby to the Montreal zone where Rebecca Johnston would score the empty netter to put the Clarkson Cup championship away for the league leading Inferno.
With a pair of goals in the championship win, Zoe Hickel was named the game’s first star while Brianna Decker was named MVP as the Inferno downed Montreal by a final score of 5-2 in Toronto.
While defensemen Kacey Bellamy was named third star of the game for her performance, Les Canadiennes at least received some acknowledgement for the fight that they put up as Ann-Sophie Bettez was named the game’s second star for providing both goals for Montreal.
It was truly a full team effort in each and every aspect of the game as the chemistry that Calgary has formed led them en route to the victory over Les Canadiennes. With that, not only are the Inferno named the chairman trophy winner for this year, but they also capture the eleventh edition of the CWHL’s coveted Clarkson Cup.