Inferno take down Canadiennes to win franchise's 2nd Clarkson Cup
Montreal's Marie-Philip Poulin misses title game with lower-body injury
The Calgary Inferno earned a measure of revenge Sunday in the latest chapter of their rivalry with Les Canadiennes de Montreal.
Zoe Hickel had two goals as the Inferno defeated Les Canadiennes 5-2 to win the Clarkson Cup at Coca-Cola Coliseum. It was the third time in four years that the teams had faced off in the Canadian Women's Hockey League final.
Calgary won in 2016 but Montreal rebounded a year later.
Brianna Decker, Halli Krzyzaniak and Rebecca Johnston, into an empty net, also scored for Calgary. Decker was named most valuable player of the game.
WATCH | Calgary Inferno win the Clarkson Cup:
"I thrive off that pressure, I thrive off these games," said the 27-year-old, who won gold with the U.S. at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang. "It's fun to be out there and compete in the top championship games every season."
Ann-Sophie Bettez had both goals for Les Canadiennes.
After being named goaltender of the year on Friday, Alex Rigsby made 25 saves for Calgary. Award finalist Emerance Maschmeyer turned aside 26 shots in a losing effort.
The Montreal captain, who led the league with 50 points and 23 goals, was hurt in the final game of the regular season. She missed the final with a lower-body injury.
Les Canadiennes coach Caroline Ouellette said the team "couldn't compromise her career for that one moment," but she is hopeful to be ready for the world championship next month.
"She was heartbroken," said Ouellette.
"She's the type of player that craves those big moments. Those moments where everything is on the line. She's our captain, she's our leader, she's the best player in the league in my opinion."
Fast start for Calgary
Calgary got off to a fast start as the Inferno's Johnston wheeled around the Montreal zone and fired a shot off the far post just a few minutes into the first period.
The Inferno continued to press with Les Canadiennes forward Sarah Lefort drawing a hooking penalty at 4:52 after Decker slipped a pass into the slot for a good scoring chance.
Montreal killed off the penalty, but Calgary opened the scoring shortly after as Inferno defender Katelyn Gosling fired a slap-pass to Hickel, who tipped it past Maschmeyer to make it 1-0 at 7:59.
Several minutes later, Jenner slipped into the Montreal zone and put on a great display of puck skills after falling to her knees. The Inferno maintained possession and worked the puck around to Krzyzaniak, who scored on a shot from the point to put Calgary ahead 2-0 at 12:59.
Jenner continued her dominating first period, breaking in all alone and nearly stretching the lead to three, but she missed just wide after dekeing out Maschmeyer.
Hickel said the Inferno's first-period performance provided a massive boost to the team.
"It's huge for the confidence for us," she said. "And just for the team as a whole. We had great energy as a team on the bench."