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The Toronto Furies are in the playoffs

A furious return to the postseason.

Al Saniuk

Last night the Toronto Furies defeated the Markham Thunder — their biggest rivals and the reigning Clarkson Cup Champions — by a score of 3-1 to clinch the final spot in the 2019 CWHL Clarkson Cup Playoffs. It was a must-win scenario for the youthful Furies that capped off a five-game winning streak that came at the tail end of a critical 7-3-0 run.

In other words, it was amazing.

The last 10 games of the season went far differently for the Furies than the first 10 games. Toronto went 3-7-0 out of the starting block, but began to look like a team to be reckoned with in late November. Three months later, they managed to claw their way into the playoff picture and knock out the star-studded Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays in the process. This also marks a return to the postseason for the team after they missed the playoffs last year.

Unfortunately, the biggest game of the 2018-19 CWHL regular season was not streamed, but fans unable to attend followed along on social media. Fittingly enough, the Furies received key performances from three rookies at the MasterCard Center.

Rising star Sarah Nurse scored the first goal of the game 19 seconds into the second period to put Toronto ahead. About 17 minutes later, Brittany Howard scored her biggest goal of the season to give the Furies a 2-0 lead before second intermission. Howard’s goal gave rookie goaltender Shea Tiley all the insurance she needed. Tiley finished the game with first Star of the Game honors and a 21-save performance that included blanking two early power plays for the Thunder.

As if this story wasn’t good enough already, the Furies will meet the Calgary Inferno in the first round of the Clarkson Cup Playoffs. In the regular season Toronto was one of just two teams in the league to hand Calgary a defeat in regulation.

The other semifinal is between Les Canadiennes de Montreal (2 seed) and the Markham Thunder (3 seed). The semi finals start March 8.

Now, let’s drop the puck and get ready for some playoff hockey.