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Thunder roll: Toronto drops weekend series against Brampton

Spooner’s hat trick not enough to push Furies past Thunder.

Furies captain Natalie Spooner at the MasterCard Center on January 14, 2016.
Chris Tanouye / CWHL

After ending 2016 with a pair of losses to the Calgary Inferno, the Toronto Furies hoped to come into the new year refreshed, revived, and right back into the win column.

That didn’t happen. Instead, they lost both of last weekend's games to the Brampton Thunder.

One name dominated the Furies' scoresheet this weekend: Natalie Spooner. In Saturday’s game, she scored an unassisted goal at 14:14 of the first period to tie the game at 1-1, then scored short-handed at 3:38 of the second period after Julie Allen took a high-sticking penalty and sent Toronto to the kill. Spooner completed the hat trick at 18:18 in the second to regain the tie at 3-3.

Despite Spooner's momentum and ample power play opportunities from Brampton's four minor penalties in the third period, Toronto couldn't secure a lead and Jess Jones' late goal at 19:39 proved to be the final blow. The Furies fell 4-3, although goaltender Christina Kessler stopped 19 out of 23 shots.

Sunday told a similar story, albeit with a shutout for Brampton. Toronto once again trailed in shots and struggled on the power play. They didn’t convert on any of Brampton’s six penalties, leaving them zero for twelve on the weekend. While the Furies’ improvement on the penalty kill is notable — they currently top the league at 86.4%, a marked increase from last year’s 78.7% — their fourth-place power play percentage sits at a dismal 10.8%, almost a full eight points behind the third-place Calgary Inferno.

With the season three-quarters of the way finished, every point counts. A pair of wins, or even a single victory, would have helped the Furies put a larger gap between them and the fourth-place Thunder, but Toronto's hold on third place in the CWHL now hinges on a single, tenuous point.

The Furies will resume action on Saturday, January 21, when they take on the Inferno at home in Toronto.