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Photo courtesy of CWHL.

Neither of the Clarkson Cup semi-final matchups failed to disappoint, with both going the distance in a pair of best-of-three series’. The Calgary Inferno hosted the Toronto Furies, while the Markham Thunder were visitors against Les Canadiennes de Montréal Each series took place this past weekend between Mar. 8 and 10.

Calgary Inferno vs. Toronto Furies

Game one turned out to be a surprising upset, as the Furies drew first blood. Calgary opened the scoring on a goal by Brigette Lacquette, but two goals from Furies captain Natalie Spooner gave Toronto the lead following the middle frame. Early in the third period, Sarah Nurse scored to secure a 3-1 victory for the Furies.

The Inferno responded in game two, outshooting Toronto 42-13. Calgary forward Rebecca Johnston got the game’s first goal shortly into the final frame, followed by goals from Blayre Turnbull and Brianne Jenner. Furies goaltender Shea Tiley stood tall and had 39 saves, but Toronto was unable to find the back of the net in their 3-0 loss.

In game three, Brianna Decker put the Inferno ahead 1-0 near the end of the opening period. Carolyne Prevost knotted the game during the second period, but Jenner scored to give Calgary a 2-1 edge. Decker picked up her second of the series, while Kacey Bellamy’s empty net goal secured a berth in the Clarkson Cup final for Calgary.

Les Canadiennes de Montréal vs. Markham Thunder

On home ice, Les Canadiennes got off to a positive start in their semi-final series against the Thunder. Montréal scored a goal in each period, which came from Mélodie Daoust, Catherine Daoust and Hilary Knight. The power play was a major factor for Montréal’s 3-0 victory in game one, scoring on two out of four opportunities.

However, Markham’s power play was even more successful in game two. With seven opportunities, the Thunder converted four times. Jenna McParland scored a natural hat trick, while Ella Matteucci picked up Markham’s fourth goal. Despite a late-game push by Montréal, Thunder goaltender Erica Howe shut the door in a 4-3 win for Markham.

It was in game three when Les Canadiennes took over, dominating the Thunder in a 5-0 victory. Mélodie Daoust opened the scoring, while a barrage of goals in the second period from Jill Saulnier, Lauriane Rougeau, Knight and Tracy-Ann Lavigne put the game out of reach. Knight was Montréal’s top scorer with four goals and four assists.

Calgary Inferno vs. Les Canadiennes de Montréal

This may be the Clarkson Cup final that most expected, but it’s the showdown that everyone has been waiting for. On March 24, the Inferno and Les Canadiennes will compete for the Clarkson Cup at Coca-Cola Coliseum in Toronto.

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