It’s not often that you see a hockey player score a hat trick and not be named one of the game’s three stars, but that’s just what happened in the Beauce on Sunday afternoon.
Caroline Ouellette had three goals and an assist in Les Canadiennes 6-2 victory over the Boston Blades in front of a boisterous crowd at Centre Sportif Lacroix-Dutil in Saint-Georges de Beauce.
Catherine Herron, who made several key saves, earned the third star nod, while hometown hero Marie-Philip Poulin was named the game’s second star. Blades netminder Lauren Dahm was deservedly given first star honours, as she stopped 59 pucks on Sunday afternoon.
Right from the start of the first period, it was clear that this wasn’t the same Boston team that lost 11-0 on Saturday night, only managing 11 shots on goal in the entire game. The Blades were able to sustain some serious offensive zone pressure early on, exchanging scoring chances with les Canadiennes.
“I think they had a better start and they had more intensity,” said Ouellette after the game. “They started believing in themselves a bit more as the game stayed close. Their goalie made huge saves. She certainly deserved that first star.”
Montreal would draw first blood, however, when a Boston turnover led to a shorthanded Poulin breakaway that Dahm had no chance of stopping.
Ouellette had an opportunity around the midway point of the first period, rocketing one off the post.
“I saw that shot the whole way,” she said. “Unfortunately, that’s the game. I mean, that same post saved us a gold medal in Sochi. So sometimes it’s your friend, sometimes it’s against you.”
With just 5.9 seconds remaining in the first period, Kate Leary tipped one in past Herron to get the Blades on the board. Melissa Bizzari and Chelsey Goldberg picked up the assists.
Kristina Brown scored Boston’s go-ahead goal on their 12th shot of the game 4:31 into the second period. Rookie Kayla Tutino picked up her first assist of the season, while Dakota Woodworth also added a helper to her tally.
Ouellette and Kim Deschênes had a two-on-one opportunity shortly thereafter, forcing Dahm to go post to post to make a dazzling sprawling save to keep her team ahead. Ouellette would bat the puck out of the air to tie it on a feed from Katia Clement-Heydra and Deschênes with just under six minutes to go in the period.
The third period started with Herron being forced to make a pair of saves on Erin Kickham and Woodworth shots. When Dru Burns took a holding penalty, Poulin scored her second of the game, on a weird shot that Dahm initially stopped, but lost control of, leading to the puck squeezing past the goal line.
A few minutes later, Poulin came close to scoring her second hat trick in as many days were it not for Dahm’s heroics, reinforcing who the game’s first star was.
Ouellette scored a pair in the second half of the third, and Noémie Marin potted one as well, giving Montreal a 6-2 win. Despite the scoreline and uneven shot total (65-22 in favour of les Canadiennes), Blades captain Tara Watchorn wasn’t entirely displeased with Boston’s performance.
“We’ve been working hard. We have a really new team this year with girls coming out of college, and I think this was a big, big positive for us this weekend,” she said after the game. “Even though we’re frustrated - we deserved better, I think - we’re not going to lose sight of what we did do, and there’s a lot of positives to take away.”
Les Canadiennes head to Toronto on Saturday to take on the Furies, who lost back-to-back overtime games against the defending Clarkson Cup champion Calgary Inferno this weekend. Montreal returns home to host the Brampton Thunder on November 26th. Tickets are available here.