2018 Clarkson Cup Preview

(Mar. 19, 2018)

2018 Clarkson Cup Preview

#2 Kunlun Red Star (21-6-1, 43 points) v. #4 Markham Thunder (14-7-7, 35 points)

Sunday, March 25 – 12:00 PM – Ricoh Coliseum – Sportsnet

Purchase tickets for the 2018 Clarkson Cup Final by visiting thecwhl.com/clarksoncup.

Series Preview

Defeating the Calgary Inferno in a hard-fought three-game playoff series, the Kunlun Red Star continued to prove themselves as a true Clarkson Cup contender in just their first season in the CWHL. Under the leadership of two-time Clarkson Cup winning head coach Digit Murphy, KRS have balanced top-line dominance alongside the growth of a young roster. Up front, Kelli Stack has delivered one of the best offensive seasons in recent CWHL history. Winning the Angela James Bowl as the CWHL’s scoring leader, Stack accrued 49 points (26 G, 23 A) over 28 games this season, averaging 1.75 points per game. The Cleveland, Ohio natives 49 points are the highest single-season total since 2011-12. On the blueline, veteran defence Jessica Wong has been a true leader for the expansion team this season. Nominated for the CWHL’s Defenceman of the Year, Wong led all CWHL defence with 10 goals this season, totalling 24 points for a  new single-season career high. Meanwhile, between the posts, 2018 Olympic bronze medalist Noora Raty has been nearly unbeatable, leading the CWHL in both goals-against average (1.71) and save percentage (.937). The Finnish standout also tied with Les Canadiennes netminder, Emerance Maschmeyer, for a new CWHL single-season mark for shutouts, recording 6 in 16 wins this season.

Following a semifinal upset of the defending Clarkson Cup champion Les Canadiennes, the Markham Thunder booked their ticket to their first Clarkson Cup Final appearance since 2012. Rebounding from a slow start to the 2017-18 season, the Markham Thunder secured the final Clarkson Cup playoff position on the last weekend of the regular season, utilizing a string of seven straight victories to conclude their playoff push. 2017-18 has been a breakout season for fourth-year forward Jamie Lee Rattray, who surpassed the 30-point plateau for the first time in her career. Rattray has been incredible in the Thunder’s second-half push, registering a point in 16 consecutive games to end the regular season, adding points in both semi-final games to stretch the streak to 18. The mid-season addition of free agent defence Megan Bozek and the return of Olympians Laura Fortino, Laura Stacey, and team captain Jocelyne Larocque shifted the makeup of the team into one of the best defensive units in the CWHL.

2017-18 Playoff Series Results

Kunlun Red Star

Game 1: Calgary Inferno 3 Kunlun Red Star 0

Game 2: Kunlun Red Star 3 Calgary Inferno 2

Game 3: Kunlun Red Star 1 Calgary Inferno 0 (OT3)

Markham Thunder

Game 1: Markham Thunder 2 Les Canadiennes 1

Game 2: Markham Thunder 4 Les Canadiennes 1

2017-18 Head-to-Head (KRS won season series 3-2-0)

Oct. 21: Markham Thunder 2 Kunlun Red Star 1

Oct. 22: Markham Thunder 3 Kunlun Red Star 0

Nov. 22: Kunlun Red Star 4 Markham Thunder 2

Nov. 24: Kunlun Red Star 1 Markham Thunder 0

Jan. 20: Kunlun Red Star 3 Markham Thunder 2 (OT)

2017-18 Regular Season Stats Leaders

Kunlun Red Star

Points: Kelli Stack (49)
Goals: Kelli Stack (26)
Assists: Zoe Hickel (26)
PIM: Stephanie Anderson (48)
PPG: Kelli Stack (5)
SHG: Stephanie Anderson/Zoe Hickel (1)
GAA: Noora Raty (1.71)
SV%: Noora Raty (.937)

Markham Thunder

Points: Jamie Lee Rattray (39)
Goals: Jamie Lee Rattray (22)
Assists: Jamie Lee Rattray (17)
PIM: Devon Skeats (38)
PPG: Kristen Richards (4)
SHG: Jamie Lee Rattray (1)
GAA: Erica Howe (2.18)
SV%: Erica Howe (.930)

Purchase tickets for the 2018 Clarkson Cup Weekend by visiting thecwhl.com/clarksoncup.