Leading the standings and returning home following a road win in Minnesota (MTL 2 – 1 MIN), PWHL Montreal faced Ottawa Saturday January 27th 2024 at Laval’s Place Bell.
In front of a season record 8 646 spectators, the game needed overtime where Maureen Murphy scored the game winning goal and her first goal of the season giving Montreal a 2-1 victory.
Starting strong, PWHL Montreal opened the scoring with a goal midway through the first period (Laura Stacey – 13:37).
However three late period penalties, two of which by Catherine Dubois who showed some frustration while in the box for tripping, enabled Ottawa to challenge the Montreal defensive and penalty kill units.
In the second period a Montreal breakaway sent Laura Stacey sliding into Ottawa goalie Emerance Maschmeyer, who was slow to get up. Fans applauded after Maschmeyer was looked at by training staff and stayed in the game, stopping Stacey’s awarded penalty shot.
With no shortage of opportunity, both teams fought for every possession. Mini entanglements and players standing their ground in open ice raised the intensity.
Montreal’s Kennedy Marchment split the Ottawa defence taking a shot on net that was deflected away.
Ottawa’s Kateřina Mrázová cut through the blue paint and took a diving shot before falling to the ice.
Ottawa’s defensive players Zoe Boyd and Ashton Bell provided timely blocks against at least two 2-on-1 Montreal opportunities.
In the third period Ottawa’s momentum continued with quality scoring opportunities. At around the 7 minute mark Ottawa players crowded the Montreal net and a shot found keeper Desbiens dropping within inches of the goal line. Poking and jabbing, and in full view of fans on that side of the arena, the puck slid inches from the goal line! Desbiens’s strong left pad and skate firmly against the post kept the puck out as she was able to covered the puck and stop play.
A hooking penalty would provide the opportunity Ottawa needed to tie the game (Hayley Scamurra – 6:10) with a tic-tac-toe passing play between the visitor defence slipped past Desbiens. Nevertheless the Montreal goalie played a truly amazing performance, stopping 43 of the 44 shots on Saturday.
There would be two more Ottawa power plays towards the end of the third period but Montreal’s penalty kill unit was successful in keeping the even score.
With the clock running out, both teams went to the bench to prepare for overtime. During the brief intermission, arena cameras settled on Montreal’s Ann-Renée Desbiens speaking to the bench, bringing all fans to their feet to applaud the goaltender for her great performance.
With the number of overtime minutes Montreal has had since the start of the season it is no surprise that they almost immediately gained and maintained control tactically and patiently pressured Ottawa.
Montreal players L. Stacey, G. David and K. Tabin would each have opportunities to win the game.
Assisted by A. Bettez and K. Tabin it was Maureen Murphy who scored the winning goal, and her first of the season! The siren rung and the Montreal bench emptied as the team celebrated.
A video review was needed to make sure there was no goalie interference, but the referee gestured “good goal” shortly after.
Celebratory music sounded across the arena as players huddled together in celebration on the ice, raising their sticks towards cheering fans before heading to the lockers.
Players: A. Bettez , S. Bujold , G. David and M. Keopple were the last to exit the ice as they celebrated with a little Do-Si-Do dance.
In a post game interview Montreal goalie Ann-Renée Desbiens address the significant number of overtime minute the team has played “we are beginning to be professionals of overtime” [paraphrased].
Next Verdun Game: MONTREAL vs OTTAWA Saturday February 24th 2024 at 2:30pm
A resident of Ville-Émard, Carlo has always been interested in arts and media. As a hybrid hobbyist/professional he has worked with a variety of media formats, collaborating with both creatives and institutions. Academically, he has a bachelors from Concordia University in Urban Planning and a Minor in Film Animation.
The picture at the top of this article was taken by Carlo Primerano at the game on January 27th, 2024.