Photo Credit: CWHL
NAME: NATALIE SPOONER
POSITION: RIGHT WING
DATE OF BIRTH: OCTOBER 17, 1990
HEIGHT: 5 ft 9 in
STATS: 17 G 13 A 30 PTS 20 PIM
WHY SHE'S AWESOME: Natalie Spooner is a household name when it comes to women's hockey, at the very least since 2014, when she became an Olympic gold medalist in Sochi. Spooner has been a part of Hockey Canada's program since she was a teenager, when she was a member of it's U-18 program.
She played her NCAA hockey at Ohio State University from 2008-2012, before joining the Toronto Furies. Spooner was the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal and the Clarkson Cup in the same year when she helped the Furies to their first championship in 2014. She leads her team in scoring this season, and is fifth overall in the CWHL. The forward has been playing on Toronto's top line with Kori Cheverie and Alyssa Baldin of late (Kelly Terry was on the left wing for most of the season, but moved to the second line late in the season).
The Furies had a tough season, only winning six of their 24 games, with five of those victories coming against the last place Boston Blades. Throughout the difficult times, Spooner has been Toronto's only consistent offensive threat, and has points on over 50% of the team's goals despite missing two games. Notably, she had five goals and one assist in a 6-5 win against the Calgary Inferno. She'll be difficult to shut down in a best-of-three series.
Photo Credit: CWHL
NAME: MARIE-PHILIP POULIN
DATE OF BIRTH: MARCH 28, 1991
HEIGHT: 5 ft 6 in
STATS: 23 G 23 A 46 PTS 10 PIM
WHY SHE'S AWESOME: Poulin is the woman largely responsible for scoring the golden goal in two Olympic gold medal games. She is one of the most known women's hockey players in the world. But it's what she's brought to the Canadian Women's Hockey League this season that sets her apart.
This isn't MPP's first go-around in the CWHL. She played her rookie season in 2007-08 as a member of the Stars. She was named rookie of the year, scoring 22 goals and 21 assists in just 16 games as a 16 year old. She then headed south of the border to embark on a five-year NCAA career as a member of the Boston University Terriers, where she was appointed captain in her final year.
After graduating, she joined the newly branded Canadiennes, where she has led the league in scoring. Poulin makes every one of her teammates better every time she steps out onto the ice, particularly linemate Ann-Sophie Bettez, who trailed Poulin by just two points in the Angela James Bowl scoring race.
Kim Deschênes, who was a formidable second line player, got bumped up to the top line with Bettez and Poulin, and saw her offensive production skyrocket. She finished third in the league in scoring with 33 points. Poulin is an offensive dynamo with ridiculous skill and tremendous hockey IQ. She will be the threat to look out for on Les Canadiennes roster in the best-of-three series against the Toronto Furies.
WHO HAS THE EDGE: The edge probably goes to Marie-Philip Poulin, though Natalie Spooner shouldn't be discredited. They are both fantastic hockey players and probably two of the best forwards in the league with Rebecca Johnston in conversation for the top three.