When coach and retired professional runner Lauren Fleshman attended the Olympic Marathon Trials in February
The CWHL featured just two games last weekend, with Les Canadiennes facing the Furies. Les Canadiennes swept Toronto to move to 4-0 on the season. Toronto is third in the league with four points, and Les Canadiennes are first with eight.
Toronto Furies vs. Les Canadiennes
Les Canadiennes swept the series against Toronto with a 2-1 win and a 4-1 win.
"It's a good start, especially in the second game," assistant coach Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux said. "The second game was a much better game and the [players] were really really listening and applying our plan so that worked well."
On Saturday, Les Canadiennes slipped by Toronto in a close game. Emily Fulton gave the Furies a 1-0 lead in the first period, but Marie-Philip Poulin knotted the game in the second. She then scored the game-winning goal with 5:08 left in the game. Christina Kessler made 22 stops while Charline Labonte made 14.
"We grew as a team as the weekend went along and I know we made mistakes and you have to be very careful with mistakes in this league and we paid for them," Toronto head coach Sommer West said. "But we're all happy with the growth over the weekend."
Les Canadiennes began Sunday's game with early scoring, going up 1-0 in the first 1:19 thanks to Katia Clement-Heydra. Noémie Marin made it 2-0 in the second, but Natalie Spooner cut the deficit with two seconds remaining in the period. But in the third period, it was all Les Canadiennes, who padded their lead with goals from Sarah Lefort and Ann-Sophie Bettez.
Kessler made 27 stops, while Catherine Herron earned the start for Les Canadiennes and posted 18 saves.
"We still have a lot of work to do, neutral zone forecheck, still have to work on our D zone of course,” Breton-Lebreux said. "I mean we're just starting the season so that's like our rush to the net, so those are three things we're going to work [on]."
Lauriane Rougeau: She returned and played in both games over the weekend.
Carly Hill: She did not return this weekend. Assistant coach Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux said they’re hoping for her return in two weeks.
Some Up, Some Down
↑ Toronto’s defense: The Furies allowed six goals on the weekend and didn’t always help Kessler out after she made the first save, but the team’s defense is already looking better than last year.
"[When] we have our whole defensive core together I think we can play alongside anybody and we can make it really tough on the other team's forwards,” West said. "Sometimes when you're missing one or two of them it leaves a couple little holes, but that just means the forwards have to be a little more aware and have to help a little more defensively. But I think all in all, if you were even to ask our goalies, they feel a lot better this year with the whole team in front of them, not just the defense."
↑ Les Canadiennes defense: The defense received a little boost from the return of Lauriane Rougeau and Julie Chu. Breton-Lebreux said she’s been impressed by what the young defensive corp has done so far.
"Our young defense really did well, our young defense impressed us and shut the other team down," Breton-Lebreux said.
↓ Toronto’s offense: The Furies struggled to score, only totaling two goals this weekend. That’s an odd number, considering the Furies are healthier at forward than they have been so far, and Natalie Spooner can usually put up multi-goal games. However, Toronto needed more depth this weekend.
"We had quite a few chances, missed a couple empty nets, slid across the crease, we just missed opportunities and didn't bury [chances]," West said. "The goals didn't come easy for their team either. The first game it was only a 2-1 game and in the second game they scored a couple late in the game after they'd gotten up on us and they took advantage of when we were down and unfortunately [Kessler] didn't have any help after the first or second save and the end result was a 4-1 game."
Coming up next
Calgary Inferno vs. Boston Blades: Oct. 29 at 8 PM; Oct 30 at 9:30 AM (Eastern Time)
Brampton Thunder vs. Toronto Furies: Oct. 29 at 8 PM; Oct. 30 at 1:30 PM (Eastern Time)
(Photo credit: Les Canadiennes/Twitter, DumaisPhoto)
Filed under: cwhl; ice hockey; les canadiennes de montreal; Toronto Furies; sommer west; lisa-marie breton-lebreux
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