BY MIKE BURSE – FAN FUEL BLOGGER
The Toronto Furies finished fourth out of six teams in the CWHL last season with a record of 9 wins, 13 losses and 5 overtime losses. This left them 14 points behind the third place Brampton Hockey Club. Offensively they ranked fourth with 75 goals scored and defensively they had 105 goals against for a ranking of fifth. Toronto also had the second most team
penalty minutes in the CWHL last year with 304.
Clearly there is room for improvement for a Furies team that went all the way to the Clarkson Cup Final in a losing effort against the powerhouse Montreal Stars in 2011.
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Between the pipes the Furies are blessed with having Sami Jo Small to lead the way. The former Team Canada Olympian is a seasoned veteran with a great deal of experience to pass onto younger net minders. Toronto did acquire goaltender Christina Kessler from the Burlington Barracudas dispersal draft. Kessler is a promising young goaltender that experienced a rough year statistically behind a weaker Burlington team. Kessler was part of Hockey Canada's Under-22 Women's National Team in 2009 and 2010. She also backed up Shannon Szabados at the 2010 Four Nations Cup (she again played in the 2011 Four Nations Cup).
Expect Kessler to get the bulk of the starts while Sami Jo Small takes on more of a mentorship role much like Jean-Sebastien Giguere has with the Colorado Avalanche and Semyon Varlamov. Also Erika Vanderveer will complete the trio of goaltenders in Toronto this season. Again expect Kessler and Vanderveer to get the bulk of the starts this season.
On defence Tessa Bonhomme led the way with 4 goals and 16 assists in 24 games last season. Rounding out the defence were Martine Garland (13 points), Britni Smith (11 points), Lexie Hoffmeyer (7 points), Michelle Bonello (3 points) and Haleigh Callison (2 points). New additions via the Burlington dispersal draft to the defence were Shannon Moulson and Amanda Shaw; both are solid defensively and should provide good depth to the Furies.
The final roster for the Furies will include Martine Garland, Lexie Hoffmeyer, Britni Smith, Tess Bonhomme, Shannon Moulson and Amanda Shaw. Moulson and Shaw will be an improvement over Bonello and Callison and will allow the others more of a chance to create more offence.
On offence the team was led by Mallory Deluce (21 points), Kori Cheverie (20 points), Jess Scanzano (18 points), Brooke Beazer (15 points) and Jennifer Brine (14 points). Toronto went after top end skill at forward in the 2012 CWHL Draft. In the first three rounds of the draft they picked up Rebecca Johnston (first round, second overall), Natalie Spooner (second round, seventh overall) and Jennifer Wakefield (third round, 12th overall).
In past interviews conducted by Outlook Hockey all three of Jody Katz (Brampton General Manager), Sami Jo Small (Toronto goaltender) and Rick Traugott (Brampton Head Coach) indicated that Rebecca Johnston should be an impact player in the CWHL. As well Rick Traugott indicated that Natalie Spooner and Jennifer Wakefield were players that would also likely have an impact.
On offence the Furies should be bolstered by their new additions despite the loss of Jess Scanzano to the Montreal Stars.
The final roster includes the following players on offence: Rebecca Johnston, Natalie Spooner, Jennifer Wakefield, Catherine White, Jordanna Peroff, Karolina Urban, Meagan Aarts, Brooke Beazer, Jenny Brine, Kristy Zamora, Kelly Zamora, Mallory Deluce and Kori Cheverie.
The additions of offensively skilled rookies Rebecca Johnston, Natalie Spooner, Jennifer Wakefield and Catherine White will greatly increase the scoring depth for the Furies up front. They will now have three solid lines that can score and compete with the other CWHL teams.
Overall Toronto projects to be a better team than their fourth place finish last season. They will have greater depth in goal and on defence; as well the offence has added what is likely to be another four solid contributors on the score sheet. Expect the Furies to enter the Clarkson Cup tournament this season with a solid chance at ending the season as Clarkson Cup Champions.
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