Clarkson Cup Pits Boston vs. Montreal
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale assistant coach Jessica Koizumi will compete for the championship of the Canadian Women's Hockey League Saturday afternoon as the team she is on, the Boston Blades, takes on the defending champion Montreal Stars Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at Centennial Arena in Markham, Ont. The winner of the championship earns the Clarkson Cup, regarded as the Stanley Cup of women's ice hockey.
The CWHL, which was founded in 2007, features elite women's hockey players divided up into five teams (Alberta, Boston, Brampton, Montreal and Toronto) competing in a 24-game regular season schedule from October to March. The teams then compete for the Clarkson Cup in a playoff format that includes the top four teams from the regular season. The playoffs began on Wednesday, and with wins over Brampton and Toronto and an overtime loss to Montreal Boston earned a spot in the championship game with five points. Montreal went undefeated to earn a spot in the championship game with six points.
The Blades, who played a game at Yale's Ingalls Rink earlier this season, finished with the CWHL's best record in the regular season (19 wins, four losses, one overtime loss). Koizumi appeared in 15 games, scoring two goals -- both of them game-winners -- and adding three assists while finishing +3.
The Blades' roster includes 10 2010 U.S. Olympic silver medalists:
- Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass./New Hampshire)
- Caitlin Cahow (Vinalhaven, Me./Harvard)
- Meghan Duggan (Danvers, Mass./Wisconsin)
- Molly Engstrom (Siren, Wisc./Wisconsin)
- Hilary Knight (San Francisco, Calif./Wisconsin)
- Erika Lawler (Fitchburg, Mass./Wisconsin)
- Gigi Marvin (Warroad, Minn./Wisconsin)
- Molly Schaus (Voorhees, N.J./BC)
- Kelli Stack (Brooklyn Heights, Ohio/BC)
- Karen Thatcher (Douglas, Mass./Wisconsin)
Koizumi, who earned a gold medal as a member of the U.S. Women's National Team at the 2008 IIHF World Women's Championship, joined the Yale women's ice hockey staff as an assistant coach for the 2010-11 season. She played for the University of Minnesota-Duluth while Yale's head coach Joakim Flygh was an assistant there, and she captained UMD to the NCAA Frozen Four championship game in 2007.
In addition to her gold medal at the 2008 IIHF Women's World Championship in China, Koizumi also was part of the U.S. team's second-place finish at the 2007 Four Nations Cup. She was on the U.S. Women's Select Team in 2008-09 while getting her master's degree in education from Minnesota-Duluth. She also played for the U.S. Under-22 Select Team in the series with Canada in 2004 and 2006.
In addition to Cahow and Kate Buesser (Wolfeboro, N.H./Harvard), the Boston roster also includes one other former ECAC Hockey player in Whitney Naslund (Bloomington, Minn./RPI). The team's coach is former Brown coach, and Cornell player, Digit Murphy. Blades assistant coach Ryan Stone has coached with two ECAC Hockey teams, Brown and Colgate.
Saturday's game will be broadcast on TSN; check local listings for air time.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity