Clarkson Cup: Calgary upends Montreal for women's hockey title
Inferno capture first-ever CWHL championship
Hayley Wickenheiser can now say she's won at every level of women's hockey.
The five-time Olympian and her Calgary Inferno teammates captured their first ever Clarkson Cup on Sunday with an impressive 8-3 victory over Montreal's Les Canadiennes in Ottawa.
Following the game Wickenheiser admitted winning the Canadian Women's Hockey League championship holds a special place among her many accomplishments.
We've got a police officer, a teacher, a lawyer and for those girls to win a championship like this it really means a lot to them.- 5-time Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser on winning the Clarkson Cup
"I was thinking to myself I've pretty much won every championship except for this one and just to do it with this group of players," said the 37-year-old Wickenheiser. "This league is interesting in the sense that you've got some players that are pro, like myself, and some of the other national team players and then you've got women who are working 9 to 5 jobs and they come to the rink at night to practice. They don't get a chance to train.
"I was thinking about those players. We've got a police officer, a teacher, a lawyer and for those girls to win a championship like this it really means a lot to them. That's why this league matters."
Wickenheiser will have little time to relish the victory as she will be preparing for the upcoming world championships.
This was the Inferno's first appearance in the final whereas Montreal has appeared in six of eight Clarkson Cup finals and have won three.
Montreal (21-3) came in as the favourite after finishing the regular season in first place and having a 4-2 record over Calgary, but the Inferno got out front early and never looked back.
"Our girls played with a lot of heart," said Calgary coach Scott Reid. "We just decided to leave it out on the table.
Blayre Turnbull, Brianne Jenner, Jessica Campbell and Rebecca Johnston each scored twice for the Inferno as Delayne Brian faced 41 shots.
Here's MVP Delayne Brian. Says it's been a while since she has won a game this big. Hasn't been with national team. <a href="https://t.co/uwNeBFMowQ">pic.twitter.com/uwNeBFMowQ</a>—@amkfoote
Marie-Philip Poulin, Noemie Marin and Kim Deschenes scored for Les Canadiennes. Charline Labonte faced 25 shots.
Les Canadiennes were reeling from the loss and struggled to explain how things fell apart so badly in such a big game.
"I have to admit I'm a little surprised considering our preparation," said Montreal coach Dany Brunet.
Held at Ottawa's Canadian Tire Centre, this marked the first time a Clarkson Cup final was played in an NHL arena.
An announced crowd of 4,082 witnessed some of the best in the women's game as the Inferno boasted nine members of the Canadian Olympic women's team including Jenner, Johnston, Hayley Wickenheiser, and Meghan Mikkelson. The Canadiennes roster included Poulin, Labonte and former Olympic team member Caroline Ouellette.
Leading 5-2 to start the third the Inferno put the game out of reach early as Campbell deflected Meaghan Mikkelson-Reid's point shot on the power play. Montreal made it 7-3 on Deschenes' goal.
The Inferno were 17-0-1 this past season when leading after two periods.
Montreal pulled its goalie with under six minutes remaining, but never managed the comeback. Jenner scored her second into an empty net.
"It was our night," added Wickenheiser. "We couldn't really be denied."