Calgary sweeps Kipling Showcase in Toronto

Team Scotiabank wins both games in Toronto for another PWHPA showcase win.

Team Scotiabank from Calgary won both their games at December’s PWHPA Dream Gap Tour stop. After a similar sweep at the Tim Horton’s showcase in Truro, Nova Scotia, the team improves to 4-0-0.

COVID-19 was an unfortunate disruption to the Kipling Showcase, the PWHPA’s second showcase of the year. Tighter public health measures in Ontario and Quebec combined with cautions decisions by the PWHPA led to last-minute changes in the name of safety. Team Harvey’s made the decision not to attend the weekend showcase leaving just three teams. Saturday’s game in Port Credit, Mississauga was played in front of no fans and Sunday’s game at the Scotiabank arena in downtown Toronto had limited capacity.

Saturday December 18

Team Scotiabank lined up against team adidas from Minnesota on Saturday afternoon in what was adidas’ first game of the year. Calgary started Kelsey Roberts in net, the rookie who wowed in Truro leading Scotiabank in their showcase win. At the other end of the ice was PWHPA all-star goalie Shea Tiley.

The game started with little action until Alexa Gruschow kicked things off 13 minutes into the period. Gruschow received a clean pass in the high slot and unchallenged, she sent a wrist shot over the blocker of Roberts for the opening goal of the night. Adidas held that lead until late in the first when Samantha Cogan mirrored Gruschow with a similar wrister to tie the game.

Adidas took control in the second when Gruschow scored another grabbing a loose puck in the crease and tucking it around Roberts. Mellissa Channell added to their lead on the powerplay with a long shot through heavy traffic ending the second period with a 3-1 lead.

In the third, Scotiabank turned up the heat to mount an exciting comeback. Heavy pressure from Scotiabank created chances in front of the adidas net early in the period. Alexandra Poznikoff tipped a Halli Krzyzaniak shot to bring them within one. Three minutes later, Poznikoff entered the zone again, right up the middle with the puck. She was knocked down but popped right back up on her feet to poke a loose puck in between the pads of Shea Tiley.

With Poznikoff’s third period heroics, the game was tied requiring an extra frame of 3-on-3 overtime. The two teams went back and forth with spectacular chances at either end. Halfway through, Meghan Grieves came over the boards for adidas and immediately picked up the puck. With fresh legs, she took off down the ice and broke into the zone on a 2-on-1. Grives slid the puck across the crease to a ready Maddie Rolfes who’s one-timer was a sure goal until Kelsey Roberts, in a dazzling display of athleticism, stretched out a leg and an arm to make the save.

Halli Krzyzaniak collected the loose puck from the save and passed it to Sarah Potomak – Scotiabank’s shootout hero in Truro. Potomak received the puck at the redline and carried it unchallenged into the adidas zone. With a nifty toe drag, she shot the puck through the feet of the defenders in front and into the net behind Tiley.

Sunday December 19

The action continued the following day at Scotiabank Arena. Team Scotiabank’s win meant they would face Team Sonnet, the home team from Toronto.

Early on, Sonnet looked to be facing much of the same as other teams have against Scotiabank- a hot goaltender. Marlène Boissonnault stood tall in the net early in the game as Sonnet dominated chances.

Scotiabank wasn’t without opportunities as they were the first to score capitalizing on a quick Sonnet error in the neutral zone. Iya Gavrilova caught a stray puck and beat her defender into the Sonnet end for a breakaway. She made a forehand-backhand move in front of goalie Erica Howe and slipped the puck into the net.

The second period was a standoff between Erica Howe and Marlène Boissonnault as they matched each other save for save. “Staring down the rink at Bos” Howe said after the game, “she was just so calm and ate everything and kind of controlled the play, so I was like, alright, me too, I’ll try that too.”

The game stayed stalled 1-0 until early in the third when Samantha Cogan broke though doubling Sonnet’s lead.

Brittany Howard would get Sonnet on the board soon after, but Scotiabank shut things down to end the game. Poznikoff sealed the win with 53 seconds remaining controlling a bouncing puck and tapping in her third of the weekend.

After the game, there was much praise from both teams for Boissonnaut who commanded the pace of the game. “She had our number” said Sonnet defender Laura Fortino, “We literally tried everything.”

After the weekend, Scotiabank sits at the top of the standings well above the others. PWHPA scoring is also led by Scotiabank players with Poznikoff’s, Cogan and Potomak leading the way.

The PWHPA stands adjourned until a few months into the new year. The next scheduled game is February 19, 2022, with no other matchups yet planned.