CWHL All-Star Game: Calgary Inferno’s Saulnier Stands Out
Team White Topples Team Blue 9-5
Growing up in Halifax, Jillian Saulnier could not have imagined she would one day be playing at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre in front of 8,122 adoring fans. She realized her dream and then some.
Saulnier recorded a hat-trick to go along with one assist to lead Team White to a 9-5 win over Team Blue at the Canadian Women’s Hockey League All-Star Game on Saturday afternoon at the Air Canada Centre.
“It’s an exciting time and fun to contribute in an exciting game for sure,” said Saulnier, who finished with a +7 differential on the day.
“[Saulnier] is a great one to play with,” said Marie-Philipp Poulin, who assisted on Saulnier’s first two tallies. “I had a chance to play with her a couple times with the national team. My jaw dropped every time she had the puck. She made me look good today.”
Team White began the game with torrid pace and found themselves up 3-0 before the initial frame was up. Jess Jones got the opening two goals—the first of which came courtesy of a deflected point shot from Team White captain Carlee Campbell. Her second tally was a result of a deft play from in tight. Rebecca Johnston of the Calgary Inferno assisted on both of Jones’ goals.
Saulnier added another goal for her team at the 14:05 mark of the first, accepting a pass from Poulin before snapping one past Team Blue starter Emerance Maschmeyer.
“We kind of got down early and tried to make a comeback but every time we scored, they seemed to score too,” said Team Blue co-captain Natalie Spooner. “We had a lot of fun though.”
Team Blue did get one goal back in the second period. Jamie Lee Rattray directed a shot towards the goal now being occupied by Charline Labonté. Kelly Terry picked up the puck and went to her backhand to cut the deficit to 3-1.
Saulnier got that one back with her second of the afternoon, after a sublime 2-on-1 feed from Poulin. Brianne Jenner would counter for Team Blue with only 40 seconds remaining on the clock in the second period. The score was 4-2 in favour of Team White.
The teams exchanged goals all throughout the third period. After Jenelle Kohanchuk connected for a goal, Rebecca Johnston snapped one past Team Blue netminder Erica Howe to restore a two-goal cushion for Team White. It was Johnston’s third point of the game.
Six minutes into the third period, Marie-Philip Poulin found herself alone in the slot and doesn’t miss those kinds of opportunities. Her tally was answered almost immediately by that of Haley Irwin. Jess Jones completed her hat-trick, followed by another from Kohanchuk to make the score 7-5 for Team White. Ann-Sophie Bettez got the only helper on the goal.
Poulin recorded her fourth point thanks to another beautiful dish, this time to Meghan Grieves late in the third period. Jillian Saulnier picked up a hat trick by scoring into an empty net to end the scoring.
The players left the arena proud of the on-ice product and in the experiences they enjoyed all throughout All-Star weekend.
“We wanted to make sure that we were showcasing our game,” said Team Blue co-captain Meaghan Mikkelson. “Not a lot of games are televised. It was another opportunity to show what we have.”
“It was such a fun experience to see that many people in the stands,” said Campbell. “The girls were having so much fun with it on the bench. It was an elating experience for me as a whole.”
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