On the weekend of January 19 and 20, the two-time defending Clarkson Cup champion Montreal Stars engage in a two-game barnstorming tour. The Stars will host the Brampton hockey club in areas of Montreal where girls’ hockey is developing rapidly.
Emile Butch Bouchard Arena in Longueuil, Quebec, will serve as the backdrop for the January 19 tilt. Of note, the arena is home to the College Edouard-Montpetit Lynx women’s hockey team. Some of their famous alumni include Quebec Under-18 members Melodie Bouchard and Camille Pauck-Therrien, along with Vermont Catamounts goaltending sensation Roxanne Douville and CIS scoring leader Melodie Daoust.
The January 20 contest will take place at Ville Mont-Royal/TMR Arena and will be co-hosted by the Mont-Royal Outremont Girls Association. Fans will be treated to some high-quality hockey, as the fourth-place Brampton club is four points back of Montreal for third in the CWHL standings.
As Brampton features the likes of Winter Games gold medalists Jayna Hefford, Gillian Apps, Cherie Piper and Lori Dupuis, Montreal’s goaltenders will be tested early and often. Complemented by Winter Universiade gold medalist Liz Knox standing between the pipes, the Brampton hockey club cannot be taken for granted.
With 11 points in her last five contests, Jayna Hefford has been the spark plug for Brampton’s offense. After starting her season with only six points in six contests, Hefford now stands No. 6 overall in the CWHL scoring race and is climbing rapidly. Heading into the series, Hefford has a four-game goal-scoring streak.
If any other player has been hotter than Hefford in the last five games, it is Meghan Agosta.
In a 6-3 win against the Boston Blades on January 12, Agosta had a five-point night, giving her 104 points in her career. Having only played in 38 career games, this made Agosta the fastest player to reach the century mark. In addition, she logged her 50th career goal in that game, making history twice in one night.
Although Montreal is still No. 3, Agosta’s 13 points in the last five games have contributed to four wins. In addition, their sweep of Boston last weekend knocked the Blades out of first place. Of note, remarkable rookie Ann-Sophie Bettez logged four points in the sweep of Boston, and like Hefford, she has logged 11 points in the last five games.
The scoring streak places Bettez No. 5 overall in the CWHL scoring race.
Perhaps more impressive is that Bettez is the only player in the top 10 in the scoring race who does not have any penalty minutes. With Brampton being the second-most penalized team in the CWHL (166 penalty minutes in 11 games), they cannot afford any careless penalties as Agosta and Bettez will capitalize on any power-play opportunity that could emanate.
Both clubs are looking to increase their momentum as a sweep from either team is crucial for determining postseason seeding. A strong second-half push can be the difference between winning the Clarkson Cup or an early postseason exit.