Laura Fortino and Jocelyne Larocque, two Olympic gold medalists, came into Varsity Arena with their professional hockey team, the Brampton Thunder, to face the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.
The result of this game was never up for debate.
“U. of T. put up a good fight, but they are playing against national girls, they are playing against older women,” said Tyler Fies, head coach of the Thunder. “So hats off to them for taking the game, it is a tough challenge.”
Thunder are one of five teams that make up the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL), and these professionals were playing against university players.
By the end of the first period Brampton had opened up a 4-0 lead on goals by four different players and had out shot Toronto 13-4.
The Thunder won by a score of 8-0, adding three in the second and a final tally in the third, sending 37 shots on net.
— Fielding Montgomery (@fielding16) October 3, 2015
This was the Thunder’s first game of the year, and was more about coming together as a team rather than the results on the scoreboard.
“The girls played hard, the goaltenders made the saves that needed to be made,” said Fies. “It is a process, but we will definitely be a strong hockey club going forward.”
Since the creation of the CWHL in 2007, the Brampton Thunder have only won a single championship and that was in the inaugural season. Despite the lack of trophies, the team has been home to some of the biggest names in women’s hockey.
Two notable names in connection to Saturday’s game are Vicky Sunohara and Jayna Hefford, who are now coaches for the Varsity Blues. Sunohara has been the head coach for the past five seasons, while Hefford just recently retired from playing and is an assistant coach.
They will be looking to take a Toronto roster that has eight rookies on it, to the CIS championships and improve on a fourth place finish in the OUA last season.
Hailey Farrelly, one of the first-year goalies on the Varsity Blues stood out in the loss. Coming in for the third period, she held the Thunder to just a single goal, and shut the door during the only penalties of the game.
With 1:22 left, Toronto had two players in the box and 44 seconds of 5-on-3 to kill off. The rookie netminder stopped everything coming her way and was a positive sign as the Varsity Blues move into their regular season schedule starting next week at Ryerson.
Toronto finished its preseason schedule with a 3-2 record, including a thrilling overtime win over the defending champion Western Mustangs last week.
For Brampton, the work has just begun as they prepare for the start of the regular season on Oct. 17 against the Montreal Les Canadiennes.
Similar to the Varsity Blues, the Thunder have a young team that includes the top picks from the 2014 and 2015 CWHL drafts, Laura Fortino and Sarah Edney. Both players have experience with the Canadian Women’s National team.
Coach Fies philosophy is simple for how the Thunder will succeed this season.
“Win hockey games, play hard.”