CWHL Clarkson Cup Tournament: Montreal Stars and Brampton HC Meet in Final

Mike Burse@Burse21Correspondent IMarch 24, 2012

The Boston Blades were the first team to score a goal on the defending Clarkson Cup Champions the Montreal Stars. They brought them to the brink of their first loss, but ended up losing 5-4 in overtime. Montreal's Caroline Ouellette scored the winning goal 45 seconds into the first overtime period.

The Montreal Stars led the round robin with three wins, no losses, 14 goals for and four goals against. They will meet Brampton HC in the Clarkson Cup Final tomorrow at 1:00pm. This game can be viewed on tape delay courtesay of TSN2 at 10:00pm.

Brampton HC gained the right to play Montreal for the Clarkson Cup with two wins and one loss in the round robin. Brampton HC defeated the Boston Blades 3-2 on Thursday and the Toronto Furies 4-2 on Saturday. Their only loss came at the hands of the Montreal Stars 2-0 on Friday.

Brampton HC boasts a lineup that includes former Olympians captain Jayna Hefford, Gillian Apps, Lori Dupuis, and Molly Engstrom. They also have CWHL Rookie of the Year Courtney Birchard and the fourth overall pick in the 2011 CWHL Draft Vicki Bendus.

While the Montreal Stars have an impressive lineup that includes former Olympians Julie Chu, Caroline Ouellette, Sarah Vaillancourt, Catherine Ward, and CWHL Leading Scorer and MVP Meghan Agosta.

Brampton HC won the the first CWHL Championship in 2007-08 but have not been in the final since that time. While the Montreal Stars are the class of the league and have finished first overall in the regular season for the past five years. They also won the Clarkson Cup in 2009 and 2011. They will be looking to defend their title.

Montreal appears to have the advantage in terms of top-end talent and overall depth. Montreal has three players above 40 points this season (Meghan Agosta 80, Caroline Ouellette 66, Vanessa Davidson 49). They also have two defenders with over 20 points (Sabrina Harbec 24 and Catherine Ward 31).

While Brampton has no players above 40 points but three above 30 points (Gillian Apps 39, Jayna Hefford 34, Cherie Piper 33. They also have only one defender with above 20 points (Molly Engstrom 27).

It appears the smart money is to pick the Montreal Stars to repeat as Clarkson Cup Champions in 2012. However Brampton HC has a solid leadership core with some young up and coming players that will relish the underdog role. The Stars will need to play as hungry as Brampton will.

It will be a great end to another fine season of the Canadian Women's Hockey League and the Clarkson Cup.

Follow @mikeburse on Twitter