Clarkson Cup: Toronto downs Boston to clinch 1st title
Britni Smith scores OT winner
Britni Smith didn't know how it happened. One moment she was on the ice taking a shot, the next she was lifting the Toronto Furies' first Clarkson Cup.
Smith scored in overtime Saturday as the Furies shut out the Boston Blades 1-0. She struggled to describe how it happened.
"I honestly don't even remember how we got in their end," Smith said as she held back her emotion. "But the puck went from (Natalie) Spooner behind the net over to Prevo (Caroline Prevost), I saw some ice in front of me, skated ahead, got a perfect pass on the tape. I shot high-blocker and it just twirled in.
"Once I saw it cross the line, hands in the air and that was it."
The sixth Canadian women's hockey league championship was the first time Toronto (3-1) and Boston (3-1) met in the championship game and the only time the Furies qualified for the final in club history.
Toronto was a surprise finalist after defeating the number-one ranked, three-time Clarkson Cup champion Montreal Stars on Friday in the round-robin's lone shootout. The Blades were undefeated in the round robin with an impressive 3-0 record, allowing just four goals against in the entire tournament.
The Boston-Toronto rivalry was in full effect as both teams fought hard to the finish. Spooner, who scored the shootout winner in Friday's victory over the number-one ranked Stars, was named the game's most valuable player.
"This year couldn't really have been better for me," said Spooner. "Obviously nothing beats winning an Olympic gold medal but this is pretty sweet right now and I am really happy about it."
Christina Kessler was named the tournament's most valuable player after performing stellar in net for the Furies with 25 saves against Boston following up Friday's spectacular 34 save spectacle.
"Kess is amazing," said Furies forward Alyssa Baldin. "It is great to have a goalie like Kessler behind you."
Blades forwards Hilary Knight, Kate Buesser and Kelli Stack were offensive stars throughout the tournament. Knight, who scored four goals against Calgary on Friday, led the tournament with five goals while Buesser led with seven points.
Boston has three members of Olympic silver medallist American team on its roster including Stack and Knight while Toronto has four members of gold-medal winning Canadian squad playing for the Furies, including Jennifer Wakefield, Tessa Bonhomme and Spooner.
The Blades were 5-2 against Toronto during the regular season and in the second day of round-robin action Boston defeated Toronto 2-1 in its closest game of the tournament.
The pace of the final was quick from the start. Boston had the majority of quality scoring chances in the first 20 minutes and forced Kessler to make nine first-period saves.
After a scoreless two periods, both teams' speed and goaltending was on full display in the third.
Kessler was forced to make a breakaway, short-handed save robbing Knight while Toronto failed to capitalize on the power play as the game headed to overtime.
A day after scoring four goals against Calgary, Knight failed to score for Boston against Toronto while Buesser was also kept scoreless. Buesser finished the tournament leading with three game winning goals.
Boston goaltender Brittany Ott played fantastic for the Blades, making 25 saves in front of a sold out crowd.
During the regular season Boston was 5-2 against Toronto, and on the second day of round-robin action Thursday the Blades defeated Toronto 2-1 in Boston's closest game of the tournament.