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Behind the Glass: Inferno claim the Clarkson Cup

The Inferno are the champions of the CWHL and the Espoo Blues are the champions of the Naisten Liiga

Michelle Jay

It’s time for another installment of Behind the Glass — the Ice Garden’s weekly column collecting stories, stats, trends, and observations from the world of professional women’s hockey. We have an SDHL Champion, an NWHL Champion, and now a CWHL Clarkson Cup Champion in the Calgary Inferno.


  • Shannon Szabados was one of four Buffalo Beauts to take home individual NWHL awards this year. Szabados earned the nod as the NWHL’s Goaltender of the Year. She finished the season with a .934 save percentage and the second-best GSAA/30 (goals saved above average per 30 shots) in the league.
  • Jonna Curtis of the Minnesota Whitecaps won the NWHL’s Newcomer of the Year Award (and the Isobel Cup), which replaced the league’s Rookie of the Year Award. Before her 19-point debut pro season with the Whitecaps, Curtis had 42 points as the captain of the University of New Hampshire in 2016-17. The All-Star forward led Minnesota in primary points (18) and even strength points (16) this year.
  • According to Daniel Weber’s data, Emily Fluke of the Connecticut Whale had the best penalty differential in the NWHL this season with a +9 differential. Minnesota’s speedy Kendall Coyne Schofield was second with a +6 penalty differential. Penalty differential is the difference between the number of penalties an individual draws and the number of penalties they commit.
  • Boston’s Kaleigh Fratkin had the worst penalty differential in the league this year with a -13 differential. Minnesota’s Amy Schlagel had the worst penalty differential among the league’s forwards with her -7 differential. Daniel Weber’s data was last updated on March 11 and can be viewed here.
  • Annie Pankowksi, who the Riveters selected with the first pick of the 2019 NWHL Draft, won the National Championship with her University of Wisconsin Teammates on March 24. Pankowksi scored a highlight reel goal to give the Badgers a 2-0 lead that held until the final horn sounded.
  • Loren Gabel, who the Buffalo Beauts selected in the 2nd round of the 2019 Draft, won the 2019 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. The Clarkson University senior had 40 goals and 29 assists in 40 games this year.
  • Zoe Hickel’s two-goal game in the Clarkson Cup Final on March 24 was her first multi-goal game for the Calgary Inferno. Hickel scored the first and fourth goals of the game for Calgary on Sunday. In the regular season the veteran forward had seven goals and 16 assists in 24 games. She picked up four points in four games in the Clarkson Cup Playoffs.
  • Calgary’s Brianna Decker finished the 2019 CWHL Playoffs with three goals in four games. She was named the MVP of the Clarkson Cup Playoffs, which gives her a unique place in the history of professional women’s hockey in North America.
  • Les Canadiennes’ captain Marie-Philip Poulinwho won the Jayna Hefford Trophy, the MVP, and the Angela James Bowl — was on the ice for warm-ups and participated in the ceremonial faceoff in the Clarkson Cup Final. However, she never took the ice during the game itself. Her status for the 2019 Women’s Worlds is currently up in the air according to Hailey Salvian of The Athletic.
  • Emerance Maschmeyer allowed four goals just once in the regular season this year. She allowed four goals twice in the playoffs, including the Clarkson Cup Final. Maschmeyer finished the postseason with a .900 save percentage after posting a .935 save percentage in the regular season (note: small sample size warning).
  • The Inferno and Les Canadiennes have met in the Clarkson Cup Final three times in the last four years. In those three games, Calgary has outscored Montréal by a margin of 14-6. More importantly, they’ve won two of those three meetings.
  • The CWHL reported via Twitter that over 175,000 people watched the 2019 Clarkson Cup Final on Sportsnet and TVA Sports. That’s a lot of eyeballs.
  • Victoria Bach brought home the hardware for the CWHL’s Rookie of the Year. Bach led all rookies in goals (19) and points (32) this year and emerged as one of the Markham Thunder’s best players. However, she did not make the cut for Team Canada’s 2019 Women’s World Championship roster.
  • We’ve already seen some changes behind the benches in the SDHL. Leksand and Brynäs have both parted ways with their coaches from the 2018-19 season.
  • The Espoo Blues defeated Tampereen Ilves to secure their 14th Naisten Liiga title in a three-game series sweep, reclaiming the Aurora Borealis Cup after a four-year drought. Ida Kuoppala, 19, earned honors as the MVP of the postseason. She had six goals and seven assists in six games for the Blues to finish second in scoring in the playoffs behind KalPa’s Elisa Holopainen who had 15 points in eight games.
  • The ZhHL postseason will resume on April 20 when Agidel Ufa and Dynamo St. Petersburg lock horns in the finals for a three-game series. Agidel will have home ice for Games One and Two of the series.

Data courtesy of Daniel Weber, hockeyeastonline, nwhl.zone, thecwhl.com, cwhl-tracker.herokuapp.com, www.tilastopalvelu.fi, and the author’s own tracking.