Les Canadiennes had multiple goal games from Marie-Philip Poulin and Katia Clement-Heydra en route to a 7-0 victory over the Boston Blades in the second half of their back-to-back games at the Complexe Bell in Brossard.
It's hard to imagine a better start for Les Canadiennes as Poulin scored two goals in the game's opening minute 12 seconds apart and she wasn't even in the starting lineup.
Fourty-one seconds into the game, she took a pass from Clement-Heydra (who had three points on the night) and rifled a snap shot from the left circle. Then, 12 seconds later, after a shot from Caroline Ouellette, she batted the puck into the net past Boston goaltender Geneviève Lacasse to give Montreal a 2-0 lead after 59 seconds.
"To start off like that with a bang it definitely made us a bit more confident, a bit more comfortable." said Clement-Heydra. "We couldn’t ask for a better start to the game."
"Yesterday was our first game back from a long break so we were starting to get into the groove a little bit and we knew that today was going to be a much better game," said Canadiennes forward Alyssa Sherrard.
Boston called their time out to regroup from the tough start after Poulin's second goal and seemed to settle down.
In the final minute of the first, Clement-Heydra scored her first of two on the night when, after a patient play from Kim Deschênes froze Lacasse, she wired a wrist shot into the top of the net.
Clement-Heydra would score her second of the game in the third period to put the Canadiennes up 5-0 when she fired another wrist shot off the inside cross bar. The rookie only had one goal going into the game.
"That was definitely a confidence booster. It felt good to finally get those goals," she said.
The fourth line of Sara Lachance, Sherrard and Emilie Bocchia had a bunch of scoring chances in Saturday's game and started off strong in Sunday's tilt as well. They finally made their way on the scoresheet in the second period. Bocchia passed the puck in front to Sherrard who put a shot on Lacasse and the rebound went back to Bocchia who put in her first goal of the season. It was Sherrard's first CWHL point.
"I don’t know if you saw my celebration but I was so happy," she said. "The past few games we’ve gotten more shifts than we usually do and been getting a lot of chances. We kept saying every time we got off the ice ‘it’s going to come, it’s going to come’ and even our teammates were pumping us up and finally it came it was so exciting and I’m so happy that we finally scored."
"It’s a hard position to play especially when you’re not used to it," Sherrard said of her position on the team. "Just being a part of this team is already amazing and getting a chance to be on the ice, I’m happy with that and to play that role. When we get chances like this, in games that we get more ice time, we need to take advantage of it and play as much as we can and the best that we can."
As Les Canadiennes approach the meat of their schedule - the only week for the rest of the year they have off is All-Star weekend where they have nine players in the game - they will need to use their depth where they can and they know the points are at a premium.
"We know that after the Christmas break, that’s the important part of our season," said Poulin. "We need to get all four lines involved in the game and that’s what we did today and it’s great to see everyone get involved and get on the score sheet."
"It’s a new year," said Clement-Heydra. "Now every point is very important and we know that. In one of our meetings we said everyone has to step up. We've been good but now everyone needs to be even better now and we want to finish first, we want to win the Clarkson Cup, that’s our goal. We don’t talk about it, we just know it. Every game is important and it’s up to us to show up and stay focused."
Lacasse made 50 saves despite the seven goals allowed. Charline Labonté got her fourth shutout in nine starts for Montreal and made 14 saves. It was her second straight shutout and it lowered her GAA to a league-leading 1.33. Her save percentage is up to .924.
Poulin, with her two goals, increased her league-leading points total to 22 in just 10 games. She has a one point lead over fellow Team Canada member Natalie Spooner.
Emmanuelle Blais, Deschênes and Chartrand also had multi-point games.
Up next for Montreal are the fourth-place Toronto Furies next weekend for two games in Toronto. Saturday's game will be streamed on CWHL Live. Their next home games will be January 30-31 against the Calgary Inferno.