After having fallen to the Toronto Furies in a shootout on Saturday evening, the Markham Thunder returned to action at the Thornhill Community Centre on Sunday for their final home game of the season to close out the 2018-19 campaign.
As a result of the Rivalry Series, the Thunder were without some of their best players for the last weekend of the regular season. This list included Laura Fortino, Victoria Bach, Laura Stacey, Jamie-Lee Rattray, Megan Bozek and Jocelyne Larocque.
The game got off to a hot start right off the opening draw with the Furies applying heavy pressure looking to do more damage against the Thunder, however, Markham would come right back, pacing up into the Furies zone.
As Toronto continued to throw themselves into Markham’s zone and towards the net, Liz Knox would start off strong, stopping the puck with a strong pad save.
At the 16:04 mark of the first period, Kristen Richards would get called on a penalty kill for bodychecking, giving Toronto their first power play of the afternoon against the Thunder.
The Thunder would interfere and head up to Toronto’s zone, but called for icing to bring the game to its first brief stoppage of play. Once resumed, Carlee Campbell would open the scoring for the Furies, Mellissa Channell being credited with an assist on the play for Toronto.
With 36 seconds left on the power play, the puck would be dropped from Toronto’s left side dot, however, Markham would turn it around and into their own zone, though the Furies would manage to gain possession, looking to keep it off of Markham’s sticks though it wouldn’t last that way for long.
Nicole Kosta would then retreat from behind the Thunder net with the puck, sending it down to Becca King who would lose it in the Furies zone. With Toronto looking to do more, Julie Allen would retrieve the puck from the left side of the Thunder net, sending it out to Shiann Darkangelo who would fire it towards Liz Knox who would make the glove save.
Markham would then come right back, trying to score their first of the game to tie it up, Ella Matteucci working hard from centre ice, sending it to Jenna McParland who would take a shot on Elaine Chuli.
Matteucci would then grab the puck again, sending it back to McParland who would stay strong offensively, dangling the puck on her stick around the Furies defence.
The Thunder would then get a chance in Toronto’s zone on the left side with Alexis Woloschuk sending it up the ice, though, it would quickly get turned around before going off to the bench for a defensive change.
Markham would then find themselves up against the boards on the Furies right side, able to turn it around, back into their zone, before pacing back up and taking another shot which would go wide and deflect off the boards and out of play.
From the left side dot again, the Furies would win the battle, Sena Suzuki sending it up towards Liz Knox who would stop it in its tracks and send it back to the Thunder defence.
Markham would then manage to gain possession from centre ice, taking a shot on Chuli, though it would go wide as well and deflect off the boards and around the ice.
Matteucci would then retrieve the puck, sending it to Jess Jones out front of the Toronto net, nearly just missing a goal to tie the game with five minutes left. This would be followed by another shot attempt from Matteucci.
This would then bring the game to a brief stoppage of play once again for both teams to do a bench swap before the game resumed from Markham’s left side dot, the Thunder on the penalty kill after Jess Jones was sent off for crosschecking.
With Toronto holding the advantage, Channell would retrieve the puck, sending it to Allen in the Thunder zone, though she would lose the puck to Markham who would successfully kill it off to bring the game back to even strength.
With another quick pair of bench swaps, the Furies would come out swinging defensively from their own zone, up against the boards on Toronto’s right side before heading back up to the Thunder zone.
Nicole Brown would then be found battling for the puck out front of the Furies net, though unable to do so successfully before Toronto turned it around. Taylor Woods would then pick it up from Markham’s right side dot, driving it up to McParland who would snag it though unable to do anything productive with it.
In the last minute of play, King would drive up the ice, firing the puck down from centre ice, Ailish Forfar receiving it on the Furies right side, looking to get around the net for the Markham’s last shot. This would bring the first period to its conclusion after twenty minutes of play in Thornhill.
With the second period underway, the Furies once again started with control of the puck but the Thunder seemed to have more control of it, keeping the intensity level heavy. They piled on some strong chances early on which clearly changed the pace of the game in their favour.
The Thunder, looking for revenge, would then skate into the Furies zone, taking a pair of shots on Chuli, resulting in another penalty call on the Markham Thunder early on. This would give Toronto their second power play of the game.
With Markham looking to hold Toronto scoreless to open the period, they would take another shot on Chuli, though saved and kept out of the net. The puck would then find its way into the Thunder zone before another shot was fired but shot wide and over the net.
This would change the intensity level for the Thunder, looking to net their first of the game, but defensive skills would keep them fairly limited five minutes in.
With Jess Jones retrieving the puck on the Furies left side, the play would get whistled down, bringing the game to a quick stoppage of play.
The puck would then be dropped from the centre ice dot out front of the benches, Markham holding on, looking to break open the scoring against an aggressive Toronto squad.
Laura Macintosh would then grab it, sending it to Brooke Webster on her right side, though she would quickly lose it to Toronto going back up into the Thunder zone. Markham, not allowing them to do any further damage at this time, would manage to turn the play around and back into the Furies zone.
Becca King would then take the face off from the right side dot in Toronto’s zone, Gribbons sending it up the ice to Ailish Forfar who would lose it before heading back down, bringing the play to a halt.
From centre ice now, Toronto would win the draw, working hard up against the boards, Jenna McParland fighting for possession, successfully able to do, sending the puck behind the net to Matteucci, though unable to find a hole before sending it down to Laura Macintosh.
With the play having moved now into the Furies zone, McParland would give the puck to her right side where Kosta was positioned, though, she wouldn’t be able to hold onto it, giving Toronto room to work with against Liz Knox.
With the play turned over now back into the Furies zone, Matteucci would send the puck from the left side boards to Gina Repaci, who would send it back to Matteucci who would take a shot but go wide of the net.
The play would then be turned around with Markham working to keep it out, Jess Jones behind the net, sending it down but into Toronto’s possession. This would bring the game to another brief stoppage of play.
From the Thunder’s right side dot now, Markham would successfully grab the puck, pacing into the Furies zone though unable to successfully find a path to shoot through.
Markham would then pick up the play from the left side dot in Toronto’s zone, the Furies turning the puck around but Markham able to bring it back the other way. Macintosh would retrieve the puck, sending it down to Kristen Richards who would flip the puck over the boards and out of play.
Out front of the Toronto net, Nicole Brown would play strong defensively to keep the puck out of the hands of Toronto, though it wouldn’t work, allowing Shannon Stewart to pace up the ice and poke it past Liz Knox to double their lead. This would give Toronto a 2-0 lead with six minutes left.
Assists on the play were credited to Carolyne Prevost and Mackenzie MacNeil. Kosta would then come down skating with the puck from the Markham zone, taking a shot on Elaine Chuli, though saved and stopped to halt the play once again.
Channell would then retrieve the puck from goaltender behind the net, costa fighting for possession though unable to grab it before heading up towards Liz Knox.
The Thunder playing aggressively, would find themselves in Toronto’s zone once again, Richards out front of the net, sending it to McParland who would bank it in. This would open the scoring for Markham with just two minutes left to play in the second period.
The puck would then be drawn from the centre ice dot out front of the benches, Toronto putting the pressure on the Thunder who wouldn’t be fazed by it, keeping steady in the Furies zone up against the right side boards.
The play would then be turned around in the Toronto zone with one minute left, both sides playing a competitive game which would bring the second period to its conclusion after forty minutes of play.
With the third and final period now underway against the Furies, Kosta would get things going for Markham with a shot fired on Elaine Chuli who would block it which would bring the game to a brief stoppage of play just one minute in.
After Shannon Moulson was called for hooking, the Thunder would go on the power play looking to tie the game up at two, though, unable to do anything productive to bring the game back to even strength. Markham would then be handed a penalty kill as Brown was called for body contact.
This would give Toronto the advantage, looking to get around the Thunder defence, Prevost and Kristen Barbara getting roughed up before Markham turned the play over into the Furies zone.
That wouldn’t last however as Toronto would send it back the other way, giving Markham the chance to flip it which they would do successfully though unable to find a path to net it through. The Thunder would take another shot fired on Chuli who would make the save to bring the play to a halt.
With the puck now dropped from the right side dot in the Toronto zone, Brown would find the puck on her stick, looking to turn it around, though she would fail to do so before losing possession.
Toronto would then find themselves pushing on Markham up against the boards, though the Thunder would grab the puck and send it down into their zone to get it out of the hands of the aggressive Furies.
After another strong pace up into the Toronto zone, the play would be whistled down before the puck was then dropped nearby Markham’s net in the right side dot.
With eight minutes left, the puck would then be drawn again, this time from centre ice, Kosta flipping it behind her to Matteucci who would send it to the net but wide and around the boards.
Markham, pushing hard to tie it, would take a pair of shots on Chuli, all blocked and saved to keep the Thunder away, still trailing by one with seven minutes left to play in the game’s final frame.
The puck would then be drawn from the centre ice dot, Toronto jumping on it, sending it down towards Liz Knox who would keep it in play, sending it to Ailish Forfar who would pace up the ice and around the net before losing possession.
This wouldn’t be it for the Thunder who would grab it from behind their respective net, Barbara sending it up to Kosta who would trip and lose track of the puck at the centre ice dot.
The game would then resume from the left side dot in Markham’s zone, Matteucci sending it up the ice, though losing it to Sydney Kidd who would shoot but go wide and over the net.
With four minutes left, Taylor Woods would snag the puck and drive it up from centre ice to the right side boards where she would lose track of it before being whistled down, bringing the game to another brief stoppage of play.
Matteucci and Brown would then find themselves in their own zone fighting Allen for possession of the puck, unable to retrieve it before the play was once again halted for another quick bench swap.
With just over two minutes remaining, Matteucci would find herself out front of the Furies net, just nearly sniping it by Chuli to tie the game, however, it would be blocked before the play was stopped in favour of a 30-second timeout to reconvene and talk game strategy.
With just a minute left, Markham would clear the net for an extra attacker, giving Toronto the hole they were looking for to score once more, giving them a 3-1 lead over the Thunder with just 57 seconds left to play.
The puck would then be drawn from the left side dot in Markham’s zone, Knox back in between the pipes, keeping the Furies limited on a shot fired from Kidd.
With the clock counting down, the Thunder would pace up for one last chance to get something going, but Chuli would hold Markham still, giving them nothing to work with to close out the game.
The Markham Thunder have a challenging final series left ahead of them as they get set to take on Montreal’s Les Canadiennes this coming weekend at Place Bell in Laval.
Les Canadiennes have already clinched a spot in the CWHL playoffs and will look to determine Markham’s fate along with the Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays in the week to come.
Following that, the Thunder will square off against the Toronto Furies for the last time this season as Toronto gets set to host Markham at the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence.
The stakes are rising high in the final week of the league’s regular season and there will be plenty to keep an eye out for as the Thunder look to complete the campaign on a high note.
The action on the north end of Montreal is set to get going on Saturday night with puck drop scheduled to fall at 7:00pmET. The game can be viewed via stream on Youtube.com.