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Les Canadiennes extend winning streak to 11, clinch home ice advantage

One semi-final will be played in Montreal starting February 26

Shanna Martin

It wasn't anywhere close to the drama on Saturday, and Les Canadiennes wouldn't want it any other way. They beat the Brampton Thunder 5-2 on Sunday at the Complexe Bell in Brossard to complete the weekend sweep and win their 11th straight game.

The two games between the two teams was physical and an intense game on Saturday bled over to Sunday's game. The two games had a playoff atmosphere.

"We’re faster than them so for them to stop us they have no choice but to be physical," said Canadiennes forward Ann-Sophie Bettez. "That’s the game they play and it gets worse and worse down the line. For me it doesn’t matter if they play physical if you’re clean but there were some shots out there that weren’t clean so that’s the downside for me."

"We don't want to get to the playoffs and not be ready for this kind of physicality," said Canadiennes defender Lauriane Rougeau. "The games are very important and every girl is going to want to win every battle and inch out there."

The game started off badly for the Thunder as goaltender Liz Knox, who got the start, stretched to stop Bettez on a power play midway through the first period. She was obviously in discomfort after that save, but play continued and she needed to make two more saves on Caroline Ouellette, one dropping down, and one glove save before play was whistled down.

She was helped off the ice and was seen after the game with a noticeable limp and a bag of ice. Erica Howe, who played yesterday, finished the game.

Marie-Philip Poulin scored twice to extend her league lead to 21 goals and 36 points in 18 games. She opened the scoring on a later power play when she rifled a one-timer from the point over Howe. She scored her second to put Montreal up 4-2 after a beautiful pass from Bettez.

"I see where the puck is, and I think where I would position myself," said Bettez. "And we have the same mentality so it's easy for me to just slip it over to where she is and she calls for the puck as well and she has an amazing shot so she just puts it in the net."

Les Canadiennes did face a bit of adversity for the second straight day. Ten seconds after Poulin's goal, Rebecca Vint put a shot past Charline Labonté to tie the game back up at one. It stayed that way until Lauriane Rougeau scored on a point shot through traffic with just 1:05 left in the second period.

In the third, Montreal got their first two goal lead of the weekend when Caroline Ouellette broke in shorthanded down the left wing and fired a snap shot five hole on Howe. Vint would again make it a one goal game when she broke in shorthanded and fired a perfect wrist shot top corner past Labonté.

Vint had three goals and two assists in the weekend series and all of her goals were on beautiful individual efforts. She now has 14 goals and seven assists on the season. She has the most points of any player who wasn't invited to the CWHL All-Star Game.

With the win, Montreal clinches at least home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs and will host one of the two best-of-three semi-finals taking place February 26-28.

On top of that, any combination of three points lost by the second place Calgary Inferno or gained by Montreal in their final four games means they will claim first place and set up a playoff matchup against the Toronto Furies who are locked in fourth place.

Montreal also has four players in the top five of league scoring. Poulin and Bettez lead the way and are joined by Kim Deschênes (fourth) and Ouellette (tied for fifth).

Les Canadiennes head to Calgary to face the second place Inferno next weekend. Both games will be streamed on CWHL Live.