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2016 Clarkson Cup Final: Les Canadiennes vs. Calgary Inferno preview, TV schedule, lineups, game thread

Everything you need to know about the big game

Shanna Martin

After over two weeks of build up, the CWHL Awards gala on Friday and a community day on Saturday, the stage is set for the Calgary Inferno and Les Canadiennes to face off in a winner-take-all showdown for the Clarkson Cup.

This is Calgary's first appearance in the final, while this is Montreal's sixth. Montreal has three Clarkson Cup but lost their last two appearances in the final, including last year's in overtime.

"We definitely know what it takes to win a Clarkson Cup" said Canadiennes forward Noémie Marin. "We’ve been on both sides of it, winning and then losing last year in overtime against Boston. It’s been a motivation for us coming into this year. As a team we all want the same goal, even the girls who joined our team this year. I think they moulded well with our philosophy that the Clarkson Cup is our end goal."

For Calgary, they added a top four defender in Brigette Lacquette and they added their captain (Brianne Jenner), a future hall of famer (Hayley Wickenheiser) and three other top nine forwards (rookie of the year Elana Lovell, and Team Canada forwards Jill Saulnier and Blayre Turnbull). And that was only in the first seven rounds of this past draft.

"I think we’re a very hard working team that doesn’t give up," said Saulnier. "We have a lot of depth and that was known around the league before the season started. I think going into this Clarkson Cup we are the underdog and that could benefit us."

They also started the year without Olympians Rebecca Johnston and Meaghan Mikkelson, but both have been instrumental in their stretch run which included a sweep of the Brampton Thunder.

Montreal won the season series 4-2 over Calgary, but none of those games actually had both teams at full strength. The two games that Montreal played when Johnston and Mikkelson were in the lineup, they were missing Julie Chu and Jordanna Peroff.

"The players they have on that team are very well respected," said Saulnier. "They are some of the best in the world so it’s important that we do respect that but remember that we’re in a game to win and that’s what we have to do."

These two teams were the pre-season favourites and to have both at full strength heading into the biggest game of the year is great for fans and for the league.

The game starts at 4 p.m. and is on Sportsnet's main network in Canada.

The game will be live streamed for free on CWHLLive.com for those not in Canada. Tickets are still available at the Canadian Tire Centre for $20.

Les Canadiennes Projected Lineup
Left Wing Center Right Wing
24 Ann-Sophie Bettez 29 Marie-Philip Poulin Kim Deschênes
10 Noémie Marin 19 Katia Clement-Heydra 13 Caroline Ouellette
47 Emmanuelle Blais 20 Jordanna Peroff 71 Leslie Oles
62 Emilie Bocchia 11 Alyssa Sherrard 77 Sara Lachance
Defence Defence
Lauriane Rougeau 21 Julie Chu
Cathy Chartrand (C) Carly Hill
23 Sophie Brault 76 Karell Emard
12 Chelsey Saunders
Goaltenders
32 Charline Labonté
67 Sydney Aveson
Calgary Inferno Projected Lineup
Forward
Forward
Forward
Rebecca Johnston 19 Brianne Jenner (C) 27 Jill Saulnier
15 Elana Lovell 22 Hayley Wickenheiser 26 Blayre Turnbull
17 Bailey Bram 20 Jessica Campbell Sarah Davis
Brittany Esposito 28 Louise Warren 14 Jenna Cunningham
16 Kristen Hagg
Defence
Defence
12 Meaghan Mikkelson-Reid 18 Aina Takeuchi
24 Hayleigh Cudmore Brigette Lacquette
Erica Kromm 11 Jacquie Pierri
Kelsey Webster Kanae Aoki
Goaltenders
30 Delayne Brian
Kathy Desjardins