A game at the Bell Centre, milestones reached, and a win for the Boston Blades. The weekend had it all. Both series -- Les Canadiennes against the Inferno and Boston vs. Toronto -- were splits.
The win was Boston's first of the season and expanded the gap between Toronto and Calgary to three points. Les Canadiennes sit first with 21, but Calgary is just one behind them. The Blades are still last, but have three points.
News and Notes
Calgary's Brianne Jenner was named the CWHL Player of the Month after recording 11 points (5G, 3A) in November.
The US and Canadian national teams will face off this Saturday on NBCSN and NBC as a part of the inaugural Team USA Winter Champions Series.
Caroline Ouellette recorded her 300th point on Sunday, becoming the first CWHL player to reach the mark. Her teammate Ann-Sophie Bettez scored a goal and an assist on the weekend to bring her total to 155 points, which ranks fourth all-time in CWHL history.
The game at the Bell Centre drew a crowd of 5938.
Toronto Furies vs Boston Blades
On Saturday, the Furies took a 2-0 lead into the second period on goals from Emily Fulton and Michela Cava. But the Blades fought back, with Meghan Grieves opening up the scoring in the second. Toronto extended its lead to 4-1 with tallies from Carolyne Prevost and Jenna Dingeldein, but Kate Leary cut it to 4-2 before the period ended. She also scored the lone goal in the third, but the Furies won 4-3.
Lauren Dahm stopped 50 shots in the loss, while Sami Jo Small made 23 saves.
"[Saturday] wasn't our best game of the year but we stayed in, we battled, did what we needed to do to win," Toronto coach Sommer West said. "From Sunday, I think we played a really great game; I think we just ran into a goaltender who played really well."
Toronto again opened the scoring on Sunday, with Cava and Dingledien giving the Furies a 2-0 lead into the second. But Tara Watchorn scored the lone goal of the second and Nicole Giannino tied the game with 12:03 left.
Both Megan Myers and Melissa Bizzari scored in the shootout to give the Blades their first win of the season, and Dahm made 38 saves. Sonja Van der Bliek stopped 16 pucks.
"We broke down a handful of times where [Toronto] got inside, but for the most part we did do a good job of keeping them to the outside and not giving them second chance opportunities," Blades coach Brian McCloskey said. "I thought our defense had their best weekend... Our defense held [their] own and did a good job of keeping some of their forwards to the outside and limiting them [from] getting to the net."
Les Canadiennes vs. Calgary Inferno
At the Bell Centre, Les Canadiennes escaped with a 1-0 victory on a historic night. Marie-Phillip Poulin scored the lone goal, while Charline Labonte came up with 25 saves for the shutout. While Emerance Maschmeyer allowed a goal, she also stopped 31 shots.
"It was incredible, it was like a dream come true," Les Canadiennes assistant coach Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux said. "You play in front of 6,000 fans and it was not a Clarkson Cup, it was not an all-star game, it was just fans for the Montreal team -- our fans, plus new people who heard about us. It was incredible, they were loud, the atmosphere, everybody was smiling, everybody was excited, everybody felt like this was a historical day that no matter what happened, we win or lose, we already won something."
Calgary followed with a 5-3 win on Sunday. The teams exchanged goals in the early stages, but Calgary responded to Lauriane Rougeau's goal with three tallies in a row to take a 5-2 lead. Bailey Bram scored twice for Calgary while Genevieve Lacasse made 31 saves. Labonte stopped 19 shots.
Breton-Lebreux said Saturday was the team's best game of the year.
"[On Saturday] once we got the rhythm going, we had a pretty good game and we stuck to the plan," Breton-Lebreux said. "We shot some pucks on the net. I think our offense was pretty good, so that was our biggest strength. But the next day, we were in such a high [from] the day before and I think coming back to our regular game it was tough, but the [players] responded well."
"She's a nice balance of agile and really good at controlling the angles." -- Boston's Brian McCloskey on netminder Lauren Dahm
Three Up, Three Down
↑ Ann-Sophie Bettez: Bettez recorded a goal and an assist over the weekend to move into fourth all-time on the CWHL scoring list with 155 points. Last year, she was one of Les Canadiennes' top scorers but her name hasn't been mentioned much this season. She's still one of the top players on the team and is on a four-game point streak with eight points over that stretch.
↑ Lauren Dahm: I talked about her last week, but she probably deserves a permanent spot here. She stopped 88 shots total on the weekend, including 38 in the win.
"She's very calm and confident...she plays her angles really well," McCloskey said. "Lauren can anticipate very well, she knows where the potential danger is. Sometimes it's not the initial shooter, it can be the someone coming to the back door. She's got a real good feel for where to anticipate the biggest threat."
↑ Boston's offense: The Blades put together their best offensive weekend of the season, scoring six goals in the split against Toronto.
"That's the biggest offensive output we've had in the last, probably on a weekend in the last two years," McCloskey said. "I thought our lines showed good chemistry over the weekend and generated some real quality scoring opportunities."
↓ Turnovers: Breton-Lebreux said the turnovers for Les Canadiennes on Sunday became a problem.
"Sunday we gave a lot of rushes to Calgary, we gave them a breakaway, we made a few turnovers," Breton-Lebreux said.
↓ Toronto's consistency: West said the team didn't play their best on Saturday, partly because the team "underplayed" their duties. Consistency has been an issue for the Furies since last season.
"We came out thinking that we were going to win and we underplayed for the first little bit, allowing Boston to think that they should be in the game with us," West said. "It became a pretty hard-fought battle the rest of the way, and Saturday I think our weakness was just [our] finish. Again, have to tip your hat to a good game by Boston on Sunday, because I thought we played well."
↓ Boston penalties: The Blades gave up a lot of penalties. In their win, they allowed seven power plays. In one game. In total, they surrendered 11 power play opportunities.
On the plus side, the penalty kill only allowed one goal.
"We started to settle in on some units," McCloskey said. "We have a lot of new players this year and I think we started finding some combinations that really work well together."
Coming up Next
Brampton Thunder vs Boston Blades: December 17 at 6:30 PM; December 18 at 1:00 PM (Eastern Time) at Brampton Memorial Arena
Toronto Furies vs Calgary Inferno: December 17 at 8 PM; December 18 at 1 PM (Eastern Time) at MasterCard Center Rink 1
(Photo credit: CWHL/Twitter)