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Calgary Inferno claim top spot in CWHL

After splitting their final series against Montreal, Calgary finished the regular season as the CWHL’s top team.

Marie-Philip Poulin of Les Canadiennes takes a face off against Blayre Turnbull of the Inferno.
Celine Gelinas

While it didn’t change much in the regular season standings, the final weekend series between the Calgary Inferno and Les Canadiennes de Montreal gave fans a preview of what might be to come in the final round of the CWHL playoffs. The league’s top two teams split their two-game series 1-1, each heading into the playoffs with some added confidence.

Saturday night’s game saw Calgary walk away with a decided 3-0 win. Haley Irwin, Blayre Turnbull, and Jill Saulnier each scored in Calgary’s victory, solidifying first place in the CWHL regular season for their team. This allowed the Inferno to finish the regular season with an impressive 20-4 record, with 40 points in total and a 4 point lead ahead of second-place Montreal (17-5-2).

Sunday, however, saw a much different result between these two teams, as Montreal managed to edge out Calgary 5-3. Calgary got goals from Turnbull, Brigette Lacquette, and Jessica Campbell. Sarah Lefort scored twice for Montreal, while Ann-Sophie Bettez, Kim Deschenes, and Cathy Chartrand also found the back of the net. Despite not being able to tie Calgary for top spot in the league, Montreal managed to finish their regular season on a high note, with a much-needed win.

Marie-Philip Poulin also finished her season strong, tying Jess Jones for the Angela James Bowl honor as the league’s top scorers in points, with 37 points each. Bettez just missed the honor, finishing one point behind the winners with 36 on the season.

Overall, it was a great finish to what was already a successful season for these two teams. Both Calgary and Montreal now look forward to the first round of the playoffs.

Les Canadiennes will face the Brampton Thunder in their first-round match-up. Brampton finished the season 10 points back of Montreal, with a 12-10-1 record. Montreal took the season series 4-2. But Brampton’s secret weapon will be their leading scorer,Jones, as she faces off against her Angela James Bowl partner, Poulin.

Calgary will now prepare for their first-round series against the Toronto Furies. Toronto took advantage of a struggling Boston Blades team, making it into the playoffs with a losing record of 9-11-3. Calgary swept Toronto in their season series 6-0 and, as the league’s best regular season team, goes into this series as heavy favorites.

The CWHL Clarkson Cup Playoffs begin this Friday, February 24, in Calgary and Montreal. You can find more information on game times and match-ups on the CWHL’s website.