In a game that would come down to who made the most of their opportunities, the Calgary Inferno converted on their chances in an 8-3 win over Les Canadiennes in the Clarkson Cup Final in front of 4,082 fans at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa.
"You look at the final, 8-3, I think we were all in shock," said Canadiennes forward Marie-Philip Poulin. "We don’t know what happened. We knew it was only one game and that it could have gone either way but 8-3, it’s a shock."
Team Canada forwards Rebecca Johnston, Blayre Turnbull, Jessica Campbell and Brianne Jenner all scored twice for Calgary, and Delayne Brian made 38 saves for the Inferno who won their first Clarkson Cup in their first appearance in the final.
"It's as high as it can get," said Brian, who is no longer in the National Team program after being in the under-18 program. She is one of many players in the CWHL who are playing at the highest level they will attain. "It’s been a long time since I’ve won something. It feels awesome."
Montreal outshot Calgary 41-26, but Brian was outstanding making several key saves in close throughout the game. Her best when she stopped Ann-Sophie Bettez in close with 5:35 remaining in the game with an incredible glove stop. That save happened with Charline Labonté on the bench.
"It usually is [instinct]," Brian said about the save. "It's mostly luck but I like to try and say there’s a little bit of luck there. You just have to get anything in front of the puck if you can." Brian was named the game's first star and the Most Valuable Player.
Les Canadiennes pulled Labonté with six minutes remaining, put her back in at the next faceoff after a TV timeout but she was pulled again shortly after for the extra attacker. Jenner scored the last goal into an empty net with less than a minute remaining.
"A goaltender’s job is to stop the puck and unfortunately I didn’t do that today," Labonté said. "In a one game final, the goaltender can make the difference and Brian was better on the ice than me."
Turnbull's second goal, a one-timer from the slot, came just 23 seconds after Montreal made it 4-2 and restored an unsurmountable three goal lead midway through the second period. It was Turnbull's second goal in three minutes as she made the score 4-1 when she moved around Ann-Sophie Bettez and moved in alone on Labonté.
The Inferno led for over 50 minutes of the game, with the game being tied for only brief moments in the first period, and Les Canadiennes just couldn't close the gap.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for Montreal who lost in the final for the second straight year and are now 3-3 all-time in Clarkson Cup finals.
"We were a bit on our heels in the first period and we fought back but every chance they had went in," said Poulin.
"Every time we lose it’s disappointing," said Canadiennes defender Julie Chu. "For us, especially because we started on our heels with the nerves it makes it even harder to swallow."
Montreal's penalty kill wasn't the only factor in the loss, but a unit that allowed three power play goals to the opposition in 80 regular season attempts allowed Calgary to score on both of their power plays in the game.
Montreal had two 6-on-4 advantages with Labonté pulled with under five minutes left in the third but it was not enough to overcome the Calgary lead, as the Inferno were content to defend their net and let time run out.
Calgary opened the scoring on their first shot on goal 2:26 into the first period when Jenner's cross-ice pass was blocked and Johnston pounced on the loose puck to put it five hole on Labonté.
Les Canadiennes tied it up on the power play. Marie-Philip Poulin backhanded the puck on net that made it's way past Brian.
On a power play of their own, Jenner's centering pass went off a diving Lauriane Rougeau and past Labonté to re-take the lead with less than five minutes remaining in the first period.
Calgary opened up a four goal lead on the power play when Campbell tipped a Meaghan Mikkelson-Reid shot past Labonté to make it 6-2 5:34 into the third period.
Montreal made it 7-3 with 7:15 remaining in the third period when Bettez found an open Kim Deschênes in front who put the puck past Brian.