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Emerance Maschmeyer the Crown Jewel in Calgary’s Draft Class

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Selected fifth overall by the Calgary Inferno in the 2016 CWHL Draft (the first backstop selected by the Inferno in the first round since the acquisition of Hilary Pattenden with the first pick overall in 2012), Emerance Maschmeyer adds to her growing legacy with the chance to return to her home province and continue her hockey career. One of only three goaltenders to have played for Hockey Canada’s U18, U22/Development and Senior national teams, Maschmeyer’s promising career is a compelling work in progress, having entered the draft with one of the greatest performances in her young career.
With the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championships taking place on home soil, Maschmeyer, who was raised in Bruderheim, Alberta, was recognized with the Directorate Award for Best Goaltender. Gaining the start in the gold medal game, a crowd of 5,850 at Sandman Centre in Kamloops, British Columbia witnessed one of the greatest goaltending duels in tournament history.

Facing off against American-rival Alex Rigsby in an epic on-ice clash, Maschmeyer recorded 33 saves as the gold medal game was only settled after 12 minutes of overtime. Despite the silver medal outcome, she established herself as a prime-time player, assembling one of the most valiant performances in her career, while gaining recognition as Canada’s Player of the Game in its aftermath.

The first goaltender to have been drafted by both the CWHL and the NWHL (and in the first round by each league as well), Maschmeyer’s prodigious play between the pipes has only served to strengthen Canada’s reputation for producing the world’s greatest goaltenders. Adding to this remarkable brush with hockey history is the fact that Maschmeyer was recognized by the highly popular periodical The Hockey News. With Montreal Canadiens blueliner on its cover, the issue dated October 24, 2016 was also its “Lists Issue”, ranking the best of everything in hockey. Among said lists included a ranking of the five best women’s ice hockey players.

While former CWHL Most Valuable Player Hilary Knight was recognized as number one, and 2016 Angela James Bowl winner Marie-Philip Poulin placed third, Maschmeyer gained a spot on this prestigious list, ranking at number five, which also placed her as the highest ranked goaltender on the list. Such recognition signifies a point of pride for her, as it affirms her status as more than just one of the game’s rising stars, but the potential to be one of the greatest of her generation, 

“To be recognized in the Hockey News as one of the best five women’s hockey players in the world is a pretty outstanding statement. There are many incredibly skilled women’s hockey players in the world and I have a great amount of work to do in order to verify that statement. I am excited to get to prove myself with every opportunity I receive.” 

During the first half of the CWHL season, Maschmeyer has ranked second overall among CWHL goaltenders in wins, sixth in goals against average and tops in save percentage, emerging as one of the finest draft picks of the 2016 class. In addition, she has enjoyed the opportunity to participate in two highly important games as well.

From the outset, Maschmeyer gained the prestige of starting in the first game of the 2016-17 CWHL season, also the league’s tenth anniversary season. It was only fitting that the first game of such a celebrated season would take place at Calgary’s WinSport Arena, as the club is the defending Clarkson Cup champions. With such an important game also signifying the professional debut of Maschmeyer, there was a feeling of great jubilation,

“Making my debut in the first game of the CWHL 10th anniversary season was extremely exciting. I was very eager to get my first game under my belt and the game could not have been any more exciting.” 

Game number one could not have been more dramatic. Opposing Maschmeyer was one of her teammates from Canada at the 2016 IIHF Worlds, Erica Howe; who also holds the rare triple of having played with Canada’s U18, U22-Development and Senior Teams. Brampton would emerge from the first period with a 2-1 lead as Shannon MacAulay (who played collegiate hockey with Howe) scored her first career goal to provide the visiting team with the lead.

With a scoreless second period, Maschmeyer would shine in the third period, making 12 saves as Jillian Saulnier would score at the 15:40 mark to tie the game, eventually forcing overtime. As the superlative goaltending skills of Maschmeyer and Howe were definitely on display, tensions ran high among fans and players alike as a shootout was required to determine a winner.

The first skater for Brampton involved fellow rookie Nicole Brown, whom Maschmeyer had faced frequently at the collegiate level as both were conference rivals (where Brown starred at Quinnipiac while Maschmeyer played for Harvard). After denying Brown, Maschmeyer showed great poise, preventing Canadian national teammates Jamie Lee Rattray and Laura Fortino from scoring.

Fittingly, it was Inferno captain Brianne Jenner (another member of the national team) that would score the shootout winner, providing Maschmeyer with her first career CWHL win. While such a gutsy performance by Maschmeyer could be perceived as a baptism of fire, with a visceral shootout required, her nerves of steel and durability paid immediate dividends for a jubilant Inferno franchise.

“Winning in my debut was a great feeling. It was a very close game and it was huge for us to come back and tie the game and then go on to win in OT shootout. As a goalie, I love shootouts. It comes down to making a couple of saves to win a game and to get the opportunity to do that in my debut at home was a great experience.” 

Maschmeyer’s most recent game involved getting the start against Les Canadiennes de Montreal on December 10, 2016. With said game taking place at the Bell Centre, home of the NHL’s Canadiens, it marked the first time that a CWHL regular season game was hosted at the venue. While fans were anticipating Caroline Ouellette reaching her 300th career point, Maschmeyer denied her on this day.

Recording 31 saves in a hard-fought 1-0 loss (with Marie-Philip Poulin logging the game-winning tally), Maschmeyer provided the Inferno with multiple opportunities to remain competitive in the historic match. With Les Canadiennes having outshot the Inferno in all three periods, she would also nullify a power play opportunity. Recognized as the Second Star of the Game, while opposing goaltender Charline Labonte gained Third Star honors, both stole the show during a landmark game that highlighted the league’s tenth anniversary season.

Part of a remarkable goaltending tandem that also includes 2016 Clarkson Cup MVP Delayne Brian and former Boston Blades backstop Genevieve Lacasse, their collaborative effort has resulted in the greatest goaltending combination in league history. All three have shined, combining for an impressive 10-2-0 record, as Brian and Lacasse both sport undefeated marks.

Among so many career highlights in the first half of Maschmeyer’s rookie season, the biggest one may have involved a game that she did not even play in. With the Inferno hosting their Heritage Game on November 12, Maschmeyer’s older sister, Brittaney was among the players participating in the pre-game ceremonial faceoff.

Having once played for the legendary Edmonton Chimos franchise, complemented by a collegiate career at St. Lawrence and Syacuse, Brittaney Maschmeyer also saw action in 15 games during the 2011-12 CWHL season.

Playing for the Inferno when the franchise was known as Team Alberta, sporting its popular navy blue and gold colors, Brittaney’s only point was an assist on a second period power play goal scored by Bianca Zuber, contributing to a 5-2 win over the Burlington Barracudas. As a side note, Zuber was also among the players part of the faceoff.

Undoubtedly, the presence of family, highlighted by her sister, Maschmeyer’s transition to the greener pastures of the professional ranks and the pursuit of greater things has also allowed her to happily return to her roots, helping to set a positive tone in a rookie season that has proven to be a compelling arrival,

“The transition has been a fairly easy one as I am back living in Alberta and close to my family and home. Having teammates on the Inferno that I have played with on Team Canada definitely has made the transition easier. I felt comfortable and at home with the Inferno from the start.” 

While Maschmeyer’s charisma for the game is evident, establishing herself as a fan favorite wherever she played, she is more than just a building block for the Inferno. She represents a new generation of competitors prepared to build on past legacies while establishing new ones. The common thread bridging these generations together is the desire to succeed at the game’s highest levels, important for its symbolism, while signifying that Maschmeyer’s heyday still approaches, promising new memories and achievements to follow.  

“All quotes obtained first half unless otherwise indicated”

Image from Dumais Photo 

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