Behind the Glass: it’s Cup season

It’s playoff time and Hilary Knight and Eveliina Suonpää are on a mission

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. Oh, and this time around, we’re talking all about playoff hockey. ‘Tis the season.

  • Alexa Gruschow, the MVP of the 2017-18 NWHL season, scored two goals and put five shots on net in the Metropolitan Riveters’ 5-2 win over the Connecticut Whale on March 7. Gruschow scored two goals in 16 regular season games and the game-winning goal of the 2018 Isobel Cup Final./
  • Connecticut Whale center Kateřina Mrázová made a big splash in her first NWHL playoff game. The Czech newcomer scored a goal, picked up a primary assist, and registered five shots on net in the Whale’s loss to the Riveters in last weekend’s play-in game. She was one of the three stars of the game.
  • Goaltender Shannon Szabados earned a 31-save shutout against the Boston Pride on March 9 at the HarborCenter. The star of Team Canada has posted a .956 save percentage in the six games she has started in for the Beauts since the start of 2019. She has also yet to allow a goal while wearing her Burger King helmet. Just sayin’.
  • The Pride finished the 2018-19 regular season with 60 goals — the highest total in the league. Their 4-0 defeat on March 9 was the first time they were shutout under head coach Paul Mara. Szabados’ shutout also put an end to Haley Skarupa’s four-game scoring streak.
  • The goal and two secondary assists that Dani Cameranesi picked up in the Beauts’ win over the Pride in the Isobel Cup semifinal was her third three-point game of the year. Cameranesi finished the regular season with 15 points in 14 games.
  • With their victory over the Boston Pride on Sunday, the Buffalo Beauts have made it to the Isobel Cup Final for four-consecutive postseasons. The Beauts last won the Isobel Cup in 2017.
  • Hilary Knight scored four goals and earned four assists — two of which were primary — in Les Canadiennes de Montréal’s semifinal series against the Markham Thunder. Heading into the Clarkson Cup Final, she’s the highest-scoring player of the 2019 CWHL Playoffs./
  • Les Canadiennes rookie forward Mélodie Daoust picked up two goals and two assists in Montréal’s series against the Thunder. Daoust had three points in Game Three of the series where she picked up points on Les Canadiennes’ first three goals of the game.
  • The play of Knight and Daoust was all the more special because Les Canadiennes were without Marie-Philip Poulin for the entirety of the semifinal series against the Markham Thunder. She was out of the lineup with a lower-body injury.
  • With her shutouts in Game One and Game Three against Markham, Emerance Maschmeyer now has six shutouts on the year. Last year, there were only two shutouts in the Clarkson Cup Playoffs.
  • Thunder forward Jenna McParland earned a hat trick against Les Canadiennes on March 10 in a must-win game for Markham. This was the second-consecutive year in which she’s scored three goals in the playoffs for the Thunder.
  • Toronto Furies rookie goaltender Shea Tiley posted a .973 save percentage in the two games she played against the Calgary Inferno in the Clarkson Cup Semifinal. Tiley had a .914 save percentage for Toronto in 14 starts during the regular season.
  • Inferno star forward Brianna Decker had a two-goal game for Calgary in Game Three of the Clarkson Cup Semifinal. Decker scored the first goal of the game and gave the Inferno an all-important two-goal lead at the 9:11 mark of the third period. /
  • The Furies were out-shot by the Inferno by a margin of 111 to 49 in their semifinal series. Toronto managed to put just 13 shots on net in Game Two which included a two-shot effort in the second period.
  • The ZhHL Playoffs will begin this Saturday with two semifinal series. SKIF Nizhny Novgorod will face first seed Agidel Ufa and second seed Dynamo St. Petersburg will cross sticks with third seed Biryusa. The ZhHL semifinals are three-game series. Last year, Agidel got past SKIF in the semifinal with a 6-4 win in Game One and a 6-1 win in Game Two.
  • Linköping HC goaltender Eveliina Suonpää stopped all 26 shots she faced from MODO on March 3. Ten days later, she posted another 26-save shutout, this time against Luleå in Game One of the Final. Suonpää has three shutouts in the eight postseason games she’s played thus far. Her .955 save percentage in the playoffs towers over the numbers put up by her peers.
  • Austrian forward Denise Altmann scored her fifth goal of the SDHL Playoffs in Linköping’s 3-0 victory over Luleå on March 13. That goal, scored at the 15:06 mark of the first period, proved to be the game-winner. Altmann has a 33.33 shooting percentage in the playoffs.
  • HV71 defender Selma Aho has decided to retire due to concussion-related issues. Aho, 20, sat out the 2018-19 season because of her injury. She played in 55 career SDHL regular season games. Her sister, Selina Aho, was a mainstay on HV71’s blue line for the second straight season this year./

Behind the Glass: It’s go time