Les Canadiennes forward Ann-Sophie Bettez had a goal and two assists to help Team Gold to an 8-4 victory in the 2019 CWHL All-Star Game at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Sunday afternoon.
Bettez was one of seven Les Canadiennes in the game. Hilary Knight, Jill Saulnier, and Erin Ambrose joined Bettez on Team Gold while Emerance Maschmeyer, Marie-Philip Poulin, and Lauriane Rougeau played on Team Purple. Bettez, Maschmeyer, and Poulin were chosen by their captains Markham Thunder goaltender Liz Knox and Calgary Inferno defender Brigette Lacquette. Charline Labonté was also a guest coach for the event, and helped lead Team Gold.
Knox took a page out of Labonté’s books before the game even started. She smothered the puck in the ceremonial face off, something Labonté did in the first All-Star Game, which gave a good laugh to all the players, coaches and the fans.
“I thought about going for a poke check, but then I thought I didn’t want to chase the puck down,” explained Knox. “I kind of did a poke check-cover, [Lacquette] was just very confused at what I was doing, and it worked out for me in the end.”
The game seemed to get going at an even pace, with both Knox and Maschmeyer each getting their equal opportunities at stopping the puck.
It was then when the celebrity coaches for Team Gold told their squad, whomever scores the first goal will get $100.
Moments later a perfect feed by Bettez to Calgary Inferno forward Brianna Decker and the puck was upstairs past Maschmeyer, making it 1-0 just over nine minutes into the first period.
“I was given the money right after the game, and felt it fair to split it with my linemates,” said Brianna Decker, the American explaining the money was Canadian. “I don’t know what the exchange rate is, but I guess I’ll have to figure that out.”
Three minutes later and Decker found herself in a very similar situation, and scored her second of the period.
Late in the frame, the Gold team found themselves short a player when Jocelyne Larocque was assessed a two minute minor for hooking.
That didn’t seem to phase the Gold offence, as just over a minute into the middle frame, Brianne Jenner scored a shorthanded goal. Six minutes later, Jenner added her second in a row, and increased the Gold team’s lead to a comfortable 4-0.
Midway, a miscommunication on the Gold bench led to Knox jumping the gun to swap with teammate Noora Räty in between the pipes, but the Gold team turned the puck over and forward Blayre Turnbull was able to beat Knox, for her only goal allowed on the afternoon.
Afterwards, both Knox and coach Dee couldn’t help but laugh off the incident.
“I didn’t even know that was happening,” explained Dee. “None of us knew on the bench. They tried to do this fancy change, and then got caught, and blew the shutout. I told her after it probably cost her player of the game.”
“Definitely our coaches [fault],” laughed Knox. “[Gerry] gave me the signal, so I just started to go, it’s really disappointing to see him let us down like that. Just kidding. [Noora] wasn’t even ready, she didn’t even have her helmet on and I was already halfway there.”
Laura Stacey cut the lead in half for the Purple team, getting the odd bounce off Gold’s Kacey Bellamy’s skate and finding itself behind Raty.
The teams exchanged another goal each before the end of the second period, and the score was a two-goal game for the Gold team, 5-3, at the intermission.
The third period started out even until the combination of Bettez-Jenner struck twice in 33 seconds. Jenner tallied first at 6:05, completing her hat trick off a perfect feed by Bettez. And moments after that, the Canadiennes forward saw an open rebound and jammed it past Räty for her first goal and third point.
Jenner assisted on the goal, and led all players on either side, getting her fifth point. Jenner and Bettez were named first and second stars of the game respectively. Stacey for the Purple team was third.
“I think she’s been an elite player in this league for quite a while now,” Jenner said of her teammate for the afternoon Bettez. “It was fun to play with her; we mixed up the lines, and playing with her again was definitely nice.”
Jenner and Bettez were teammates at the Under-22 level.
“There’s just some players, where you know where they are on the ice, [Montreal teammate Marie-Philip Poulin] is obviously one of them, Jenner seems to be another one,” said Bettez. “It was just great chemistry, too bad we only had the chance to play one period together, but it was amazing to be on the ice with her.”
The Purple team however weren’t going to give up, and tried everything, throwing as many pucks as possible at Räty.
Zoe Hickel scored her team’s fourth and final goal for her team, on a perfect feed from Victoria Bach.
Olympian Rebecca Johnston rounded out the scoring for both squads when she scored her team’s eighth goal after taking a feed from her Team Gold teammate Natalie Spooner, and shooting off Rigsby’s glove.