In a rematch of last season’s Clarkson Cup, and what’s likely to be the matchup for this year’s championship, Les Canadiennes de Montréal and the Calgary Inferno go head-to-head this weekend in the final series of the regular season. The series could have minor implications on the regular-season standings, but is more likely to serve as a preview of what’s to come in the playoffs. A Montreal sweep would catapault them to first overall, whereas Calgary will hold on to first if they pick up at least one point over the weekend.
While the series does not hold huge weight for the regular-season standings, it does serve as a preview for what fans are likely to see in the Clarkson Cup final. It would only make sense that the league’s two best teams end the regular season playing each other. Both teams are going to treat this series as a measuring stick, or as an opportunity to set the tone heading into the playoffs.
Montreal was far and away the best regular-season team last year, and went into the Clarkson Cup final with visions of a championship etched in their minds. But Calgary had other plans. The Inferno upset Les Canadiennes 8-3 in the final, taking home the Clarkson Cup and leaving Montreal to wonder where it all went wrong. Needless to say, Les Canadiennes do not want to go down that path again.
Although Calgary has been the better team overall this season, Montreal’s players have had record-breaking years. Three out of the top four scorers in the CWHL are members of Les Canadiennes (Marie-Philip Poulin, Ann-Sophie Bettez and Caroline Ouellette). Poulin reached 100 career points in the CWHL this year and is likely to finish the regular season first overall in scoring. Caroline Ouellette became the first player in CWHL history to reach 300 points. She followed that milestone by tying Jayna Hefford’s record for goals scored in the CWHL at 130. She may even break that record this weekend. Needless to say, it’s been a great individual season for members of Les Canadiennes.
Brianne Jenner is the lone member of the Calgary Inferno among the top five in CWHL scoring. But Calgary’s secret weapon this season has been their three-headed monster in net. Genevieve Lacasse, Emerance Maschmeyer, and Delayne Brian have shared duties between the pipes throughout the season. They have combined for 22 games played, 1.80 goals against average, and a .926 save percentage so far. Maschmeyer, a rookie, even leads the CWHL in save percentage with an impressive .939 rating.
Between Montreal’s powerful offense and Calgary’s solid goaltending trio, it’s anyone’s guess as to how the final series between these two teams will play out. But one thing is for sure: this isn’t that last we’re going to see of these two teams.
Want to watch this final showdown? You can catch the game live on the CWHL’s YouTube channel: