In the first month of the 2012-13 CWHL campaign, the elite players available in the 2012 CWHL Draft are already beginning to pay dividends.
The Furies have seen great performances from the likes of Catherine White, Natalie Spooner and Jenn Wakefield.
On the other side of the Battle of Toronto, the Brampton Thunder have seen draft picks Bailey Bram and Laura MacIntosh show that the future for Brampton is in good hands.
Bram and MacIntosh are remarkable playmakers that have added a new dimension to Brampton’s offense. In addition, Bram finds herself reunited with former collegiate teammate, Vicki Bendus, the leading scorer on a talented Brampton roster.
Montreal Stars draft picks Charline Labonte, Ann-Sophie Bettez and Sara Dagenais had memorable debuts. In the first game of the CWHL season, the Stars played the Boston Blades, and the first goal of the season was scored by Dagenais, and assisted by Bettez. Labonte stood between the pipes for the win.
Here are some more memorable performances from the first month of the season.
As part of World Girls Hockey Day festivities, the city of Waterloo, Ontario (located southwest of Toronto), hosted an exhibition match with the Toronto Furies and the Brampton Thunder.
Former Cornell Big Red sniper Catherine White scored the first goal of the game. It was her first career CWHL goal in her first-ever game with Toronto.
Despite being drafted by the Montreal Stars, Schelling was an unfortunate victim of the numbers game.
With Kim St. Pierre, Charline Labonte and Jenny Lavigne (who stood between the pipes when Montreal won the 2012 Clarkson Cup) at Stars training camp, there was simply no room to accommodate a fourth goaltender, no matter how great she may be.
In order for Schelling to gain some experience, the defending Clarkson Cup champions loaned her to the Brampton Thunder.
In her debut with Brampton at Calgary’s WinSport Arena, she helped Brampton to a convincing 8-2 win over Team Alberta.
In the opening game of the season, Schaus helped the Blades battle back from a 2-0 setback (including the nullifying of a 5 on 3 Stars power play) to force a shootout.
Despite the loss in the shootout, Schaus kept the team competitive. The following day, Schaus was a key factor in the Blades' win over the defending Clarkson Cup champions.
Having lost the first two games of their three game set versus Brampton, Alberta did not want to end the series on a losing note.
Despite All-World goaltender Florence Schelling standing between the pipes in the rubber match, Alberta battled back from a 2-0 deficit to prevail by a 3-2 tally. The game-winner would be scored by former Carleton Ravens skater Olivia Sutter.
An October 20, 2012 contest against the Brampton Thunder saw the Toronto Furies draw first blood in the Battle of Toronto.
Natalie Spooner, the all-time goal scoring leader for the Ohio State Buckeyes, made her presence felt. In the first period, Spooner scored an unassisted goal at the 17:57 mark to give the Furies a 2-0 lead. Spooner would score the first goal of the second stanza, as Mallory Deluce assisted.
Despite the 3-0 deficit, Brampton came back to force overtime. Once again, Deluce would connect with Spooner, as she buried the puck past Liz Knox to notch the game-winning tally while giving her the first hat trick of the season.
A three game series (from October 27 to 29) between Brampton and Alberta should have been renamed the Vicki Bendus show. In three games, Bendus logged seven goals and three assists in an amazing display of skill.
As Brampton won 2 of 3 games against Alberta, Bendus was the key factor in gaining those wins. Her finest performance came in the October 28 match (which was also the CWHL debut of Florence Schelling). In the second period of said match, Bendus scored a hat trick as Brampton went on to prevail by an impressive 8-2 mark.
On opening night of the 2012-13 CWHL season, no one could have guessed that the first goal of the game by the Stars would be scored by a rookie defender.
That's exactly what happened as Sara Dagenais scored on U.S. National Team member Molly Schaus to give Montreal a 1-0 lead. Said goal was assisted by another rookie, Ann-Sophie Bettez. A graduate of North Dakota, Dagenais is part of the Stars' youth movement on the blue line.