As the reigning Clarkson Cup Champions, the Markham Thunder, came into the season as the team to beat. In a flip from 2017/2018, the Thunder found greater success earlier in the year and worked hard to clinch the third seed in the playoffs in late February. With a steady overall performance, the team finished the regular season with a 14-11-3-1 record and have positioned themselves as a strong competitor going into the playoffs.
Heading into the 2018 draft, the Thunder were looking for players who would add definition to their already deep roster selecting Victoria Bach, Ailish Forfar, Daniella Matteucci, Gina Repaci, Kelly Gribbons and Elijah Milne-Price. Rookie Victoria Bach proved to be an excellent pick, leading the team with 32 points (19 goals, 13 assists) and five game-winning goals and netted her first hat-trick.
Before heading into the All-Star game, the Thunder went 7-7-3-2, earning most of their wins at home. Markham sent seven players to the All-Star Game including Larocque, Fortino, Rattray, Bozek, Stacey, Bach and Knox. The Thunder fans and team created a huge and successful social media campaign that saw fans and players come together, voting Knox as captain for Team Gold. Knox’s Team Gold went on to win the 2019 CWHL All-Star game.
Coming back from the break as the season was winding down, the defending champions were being tested and had not yet secured their playoff spot. Despite this, Markham remained strong in every game against their opponents and were determined to clinch with Toronto and Shenzhen close behind. The team would finally secure their playoff spot in the last weekend series after a hard-fought road win in Montreal. This weekend, the Thunder will head to Montreal to face Les Canadiennes in a best of three playoff series for the third season in a row. Who will come out victorious on the other side? Find out starting Friday at 7:30 PM EST.
Fans can purchase tickets by visiting thecwhl.com/playoff-tickets and can stream game 2 on Saturday night at thecwhl.com/watch starting at 6:00 PM EST.