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Second Look: Clarkson Cup — what went right for Inferno, wrong for Les Canadiennes on Sunday

The Calgary Inferno have won their first-ever Clarkson Cup, dominating the favorites, Les Canadiennes de Montreal, in order to do so. Here's how it went down.



After the final practice for both teams ahead of Sunday's Clarkson Cup Final, Calgary Inferno forward Hayley Wickenheiser said the keys for her squad to win would be goaltending, special teams and who made the fewest mistakes.

In the end, those were exactly the difference-makers for the Inferno, who dominated Les Canadiennes de Montreal from start to finish, 8-3, winning their first Clarkson Cup in franchise history at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa.

Rebecca Johnston and Blayre Turnbull scored twice, as did Brianne Jenner (one an empty-net goal with less than a minute to go). Goaltender Delayne Brian had her best game of the season, saving 38 of 41 shots, and the Inferno only drew two penalties but capitalized on both man-up opportunities; meanwhile, Les Canadiennes' top-ranked power play went only 1-for-5, and world-class goaltender Charline Labonte looked very human in net, making 18 stops on 25 shots faced. (Check out the boxscore here.)

How did it happen? How did everything go so perfectly for the Inferno at the right time, while everything for the top-ranked Les Canadiennes went so wrong?

Poulin said afterward that it was not her best game, adding that the early start by Calgary had Les Canadiennes back on their heels a bit. "We knew they were going to come out hard," she said. "For us, me, Ann-Sophie [Bettez] and Kim tried to put pressure on them, and we had a couple of chances. But Delayne Brian played an unreal game, and I'm happy for her."

Ouellette agreed that the Inferno had a better start to the game than her team did. "When everyone on our team was good, we had a good performance," she said. "Tonight, we simply weren't good enough. Calgary was better, they were faster, they scored on their chances, and we didn't."

Brian was humble, crediting the high-powered offense and her blueliners for the win: "When you score eight goals, I just kind of have to do my job on the back end. They were letting me see the puck for the most part, so my team was making my job pretty easy."

"This one's a tough one," she said. "I was staring at the floor, saying to myself, 'I can't believe we just lost, 8-3… Last year it was grinding all the time to get there, and this year… it's doesn't reflect the season, it doesn't reflect what it should have been in the Clarkson Cup Final."

"Our girls played with a lot of heart," he said. "Winning one-on-one battles and managing momentum swings, I think that was a big key… Good or bad, you just never know what's going to happen, and the way we managed them today helped us win, for sure.

"Everybody played a role, and we've talked about that all year long — it's a group. You're not playing singles tennis here, we're in a team sport… We had girls step up throughout the game that got us goals when we needed them. When they scored, we didn't sit back — we went and got another one, and that just helped us keep the momentum going."

by Angelica Rodriguez