Stars and Blades Go to Shootout in CWHL Season Opener

Mark StaffieriContributor IIOctober 25, 2012

Photo by Robert Skinner, La Presse
Photo by Robert Skinner, La Presse

The first contest of the 2012-13 CWHL season saw a crowd of 700 witness an epic confrontation between the defending Clarkson Cup champion Montreal Stars and a fully loaded Boston Blades squad.

Prior to the match, an event was held to honor the retiring Stars players; Nathalie Dery, Stephanie Denino and Kelly Sudia.

Fans were surprised to see a scoreless first period with both teams appearing to feel each other out. The second period saw the Stars make some adjustments and log two goals.

In her CWHL debut, Sara Dagenais-Everell (who played with the Lamoureux sisters at North Dakota) logged the first goal of the 2012-13 CWHL season early in the second.

The assist went to rookie Ann-Sophie Bettez, the 2012 BLG Award winner (given to the most outstanding athletes in canadian inter-university sport). Ironically, Dagenais-Everell also scored a goal in her NCAA debut in October 2008.

Meghan Agosta-Marciano, the 2012 CWHL Most Valuable Player and single-season scoring record holder logged the second goal of the period, which nearly ended in disaster for Boston as two of its players were in the penalty box. Despite a 5-3 player advantage, Molly Schaus was a key factor in preventing the Stars from extending their lead.

The third period saw the Blades first-round pick in the 2012 CWHL Draft, Hilary Knight, reduce the Stars' lead. While both teams played stifling defense, the Blades were able to even the score. Karen Thatcher, one of the greatest players in the history of the Providence Friars buried the puck past Charline Labonte with less than three minutes in the period.

With a stunned Montreal crowd, the Stars were not able to score in the overtime frame. As the season’s opening contest went to a shootout, Caroline Ouellette was the first Stars skater to take to the ice. Ouellette, who scored the gold-medal-winning goal at the 2012 IIHF Women’s Worlds did not disappoint, scoring on Schaus.

The Blades replied with Kelli Stack, the 2012 Bob Allen Award Winner (given to the most outstanding women’s hockey player in the United States). Stack, who came off a great game against her alma mater, the Boston College Eagles, was unable to score on Labonte.

Hilary Knight followed and endured the same fate as Stack. Haley Irwin, the third-overall pick in the 2012 draft, was denied by Schaus.

Meghan Duggan, back in action after 10 months, was the last chance for the Blades to extend the shootout further. Labonte successfully blocked her shot as the Stars opened their season with a dramatic victory.