After having fallen to the Calgary Inferno last week as part of a doubleheader in Thornhill, perhaps the Markham Thunder deserved to have some good luck on their side, winning face-offs and netting goals as part of a 4-1 victory over Worcester on Saturday night.
From the moment the puck dropped, both teams got off to strong starts respectively with plenty of offensive production on both ends, passing the puck and finding open gaps.
The Blades would be the first to grab a couple of chances at Erica Howe, however, as the match progressed to the nine minute mark of the game’s opening frame, the Thunder caught on and took full advantage of all possible opportunities that they were handed. This would ultimately result in Laura Fortino’s fourth goal of the season as she found the back of the Worcester net to give the Markham Thunder a 1-0 lead.
The pace once again would pick up from the centre ice draw with the Markham Thunder finding themselves positioned in and around the opposition’s zone. Worcester fighting back would not allow for any rhythm to be created, defending their own zone and keeping the puck away from the net.
This would continue to be the case for the remainder of the first period, leaving Markham up 1-0 at the end of the first twenty minutes of play in Thornhill.
As the second period commenced, Markham came out strong right off the draw, immediately with two scoring chances, both of which were just nearly missed. However, their defence would remain strong, keeping the puck in Worcester’s zone respectively.
The productivity would continue as the first four minutes of the second period counted down, the Thunder showing no remorse and continuing to push hard as a result of this. With the offensive advantage on Markham at the 18 minute mark, forward Victoria Bach would take full advantage of these chances, netting the second goal of the game, giving the Markham Thunder a 2-0 lead over the Worcester Blades.
The Thunder offence remained strong as the middle frame resumed, Jamie Lee Rattray and Jocelyne Larocque amongst the few attempting to fire shots out to add to their lead. However, they would end up coming off with nothing as a result before the Blades gained their bearings to touch the puck and move it out of the zone and around the ice.
Markham would continue to shoot right down towards Mariah Fujimagari, however, leading the defence for the Blades, her balance of glove control would be just enough to keep it all out and the score intact.
In the final three minutes, Worcester would start to play a tougher game on the defensive end, getting back into the Thunder zone looking to get a point of their own on the scoreboard. This of course to even it out a little more before the conclusion of the second period.
This would do it through forty minutes of play in Thornhill with the Markham Thunder holding it steady, up 2-0 on the Worcester Blades.
As the third and final frame of the game got underway in Thornhill, Markham started things off and on a positive note with yet another goal of their own, this time from Jenna McParland, with assists from Victoria Bach and Nicole Brown early in at the 18:34 mark. This would give the Thunder a 3-0 lead to back them up with.
The team then went up on the power-play after Shannon Hickey was benched for tripping, however, it was very quickly killed off, bringing the game back to four-on-four even strength while at the same time, sending Rattray to the box for 43 seconds as the result of crosschecking against the Blades.
At the 12 minute mark of the third and final period, both Megan Bozek and Demi Crossman went off for coincidental slashing penalties, bringing the game back to 4-4 for another full two minutes of play.
Just two minutes later, Markham, continuing to intimidate the Blades with their offensive chemistry, added to their already healthy lead a 4-0 stance against Worcester as Rattray slapped one in on the rush past Fujimagari to the right side of the net, top shelf. This would be assisted by Laura Fortino who opened the scoring.
McParland followed that up with what very well looked like her second of the game, however, it was almost immediately waived off for being kicked into the net of the Worcester Blades.
Things would remain rather steady for the next few minutes of the game, though this wouldn’t last with the Markham Thunder giving it yet another chance in the Worcester zone.
At the 6:45 mark of the game’s third and final period, the Blades finally got on the board thanks to a goal from forward Courtney Turner, bringing Worcester within a point, though still trailing by three to the Markham Thunder.
As the final five minutes begun to count down in Thornhill, the Thunder brought out the intensity of their offence, showing they were nowhere close to done, looking to potentially add on one more to seal the deal in their win already quite secured.
With just over two minutes left to play in the final frame, Kristen Richards was sent to the box, putting the Markham Thunder on another penalty, while the Blades had Demi Crossman sent to the box for shoving by the Markham Thunder net as well.
This would be all through sixty minutes of regulation, securing yet another win for goaltender Erica Howe on Saturday night. The two sides meet again on Sunday afternoon in Thornhill with puck drop scheduled to fall at 12:30pmET and the game can be viewed via stream on Youtube.com.
Photo Credit: Jessica Bazal – CWHL