Compared to the previous season, the Calgary Inferno have seen tremendous change at the goaltending position. While All-Star backstop Delayne Brian, the 2016 Clarkson Cup MVP, remains the heartbeat for the last line of defense, she is joined by a pair of promising rookies that made their mark in Canadian Interuniversity Sport play.
Culminating her sparkling Pandas career by leading the program to the 2017 USPORTS national championships in her senior season, it was the crowning achievement for an accomplished Lindsey Post. While few goaltenders experience the thrill of hoisting the coveted Golden Path Trophy in their final university game, it established Post, as one of the elite goaltending prospects for the upcoming CWHL Draft.
Selected in the fourth round, coincidentally the fourth goaltender selected in said Draft, Post, who was raised in Canada’s capital region in Chelsea, Quebec, was the third highest Pandas pick in draft history. Taken fifth overall in the inaugural edition of the Draft was Delaney Collins, while Leah Copeland, whom Post played for in Alberta, was a Team Alberta pick in 2012. Adding to the sense of coincidence is the fact that Copeland was the last Pandas alum to be drafted into the CWHL before Post.
Complemented by the 2017 USPORTS national championship MVP honors, along with the Bakewell Trophy, awarded to the University of Alberta’s Female Athlete of the Year, Post also holds the program records for most wins and shutouts. Among the Inferno’s 2017 draft class, Post was one of four competitors from the Canada West conference.
Worth noting, Post is joined on the Inferno’s goaltending corps by a former rival in the Canada West Conference. Having stood between the pipes for the Regina Cougars, Toni Ross is the other half of the Inferno’s rookie goaltending duo. Akin to Post’s legacy with the Pandas, Ross rewrote many of the Cougars goaltending records.
Setting the Cougars standard for most wins in program history, surpassing Andrea Charanduk, there is a tinge of irony in the fact that Ross, a 2015-16 Canada West First-Team All-Star, and multiple Academic All-Canadian, achieved this mark against the Pandas on January 23, 2016.
Considering that Brian shared goaltending duties last season with Genevieve Lacasse and Emerance Maschmeyer, these two talented first-year players have put forth an admirable effort. Respecting the contributions of their predecessors, while building on their past successes, Post and Ross are ensuring that the Inferno’s reputation for boasting the legaue’s best goaltending remains intact.
In discussing the impact of having Brian, a former CWHL Goaltender of the Year Award recipient, and participant in the league’s first two All-Star Games, her presence as an invaluable mentor for these rookie goaltending sensations is one that Post is most grateful for. While Post certainly took on the mentoring role in the latter half of her brilliant career with the Pandas, the chance to learn what it means to compete at the professional ranks is one that has resulted in tremendous inspiration, quickly recognizing Brian’s indomitable spirit and strong character.
“Delayne is an amazing person and goalie partner. She’s a tough competitor and pushes everyone around her to be better. Although she was unfortunately injured earlier in the season, she still hasn’t missed a practice or game. She is committed beyond belief to this team both on and off the ice. She volunteers her time whenever she can and is a great mentor to all the young hockey players around her, including myself.”
Making her debut on October 28, 2017, as the Inferno hosted the highly-touted expansion Kunlun Red Star, it was a moment that actually bridged two key chapters in Post’s hockey odyssey. While Post was wearing the iconic red Inferno jersey, she was still donning her goaltending equipment from the Pandas. Considering that her goalie pads are green and gold, it brings back memories of two other goaltending stars who made their debut in collegiate gear.
Both alumnae from the Clarkson Golden Knights, whose school colors are also green and gold, Erica Howe and Lauren Dahm each made their respective debuts for the Brampton Thunder and Boston Blades with the equipment from their NCAA glory years. Although such gear may not have represented an ideal color scheme for any of these elite backstops, it certainly held a very strong emotional component. Such emotion was also evident in a milestone game for Post, as the green and gold displayed the emphasis on an already solid body of work in the hockey mad province of Alberta.
“I do take pride in the fact that I was a part of such an amazing University hockey program. My Pandas gear definitely stands out in Calgary. It was weird suiting up for a different team after five seasons of being a Panda, but at the same time it’s exciting to be a part of a new team and moving to a higher level of play for the next phase of my career.”
Recording 30 saves in her debut, Post’s valiant effort was essential as the Inferno forced overtime against the victorious visitors. Taking into account that the Red Star boasted a 3-0 advantage, as Shiann Darkangelo’s first CWHL goal was the first goal allowed by Post in her career, the Inferno bounced back to tie the game and force overtime, highlighted by Post’s 14 saves in the third period. With such an admirable performance, it proved that Post was truly a major league athlete, dedicated towards giving her team a chance to win.
Earning her first win at the CWHL level in a November 4 tilt at home against the Markham Thunder, Erica Kromm’s first goal of the season would also stands as the game-winning tally for an elated Post. Of note, she would add another to the win column the following day. Allowing a cumulative total of three goals and 41 saves in the pair of victories, sweeping the visiting Thunder, she rebounded tremendously, displaying the kind of resolve that will be required in order for the club to remain competitive in a season filled with parity.
Maintaining her hot streak, Post rode a wave of momentum, blanking the Toronto Furies the following weekend. Gaining the first shutout of her young CWHL career in a 2-0 final with goals by Rhianna Kurio and Brittany Esposito, Post required merely 15 saves against an offensively starved Furies roster. For her efforts, she was recognized as the CWHL’s Goaltender of the Week, the first Inferno backstop to gain the honor this season.
“Getting my first win in the CWHL was a huge relief, especially after the overtime loss in my debut. It’s always a nice feeling to get a win because it builds up the team’s confidence in my performance.
My first few wins and then getting a shutout to top it off was validation that I do have the skill to play at this level. The success motivated me to continue working hard and getting better.”
Following the sweep of the Thunder, Post would reel off another two consecutive wins. Recording 14 saves against the visiting Boston Blades on November 25, she would follow it up with her second defeat of the Furies, making 30 saves in a December 17 triumph, ensuring that the Inferno remain among the league’s elite clubs.
With a season that sees four rookie goaltenders gaining significant playing time, highlighted by Noora Raty and Elaine Chuli with their respective expansion clubs, Kunlun Red Star and Vanke Rays, Post is definitely holding her own. Heading into the holiday break, Post ranks fourth in the CWHL in goals against average, trailing Raty, Chuli and former Inferno backstop Emerance Maschmeyer, currently with Montreal. Post also ranks sixth in save percentage, while her 365 minutes played also places her among the top 10.
In getting the opportunity to continue her career in her adopted province of Alberta, graduating to the professional ranks, it has enriched the hockey journey of a beaming Post. With aspirations of one day hoisting the Clarkson Cup, adding another treasured women’s hockey championship to the provincial hockey power, the Inferno does more than extend Post’s playing career—it also extends the opportunity to build on a meaningful legacy as an inspiring and admired competitor whose grace and sportsmanship make her a model teammate,
“It is an amazing opportunity for me. It was great not to move back to Eastern Canada, as I have really enjoyed my time here in Alberta. I have made so many great friendships and connections here, so not having to uproot and move away made my decision to keep playing hockey that much easier.
I am so happy that there is a competitive women’s league to join after University. I ended my career as a Panda on such a high that I was not ready for my hockey career to end completely. It’s amazing to have the option to continue playing at such a high level.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credits: Dave Holland (Inferno), U of Alberta Athletics