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Caroline Ouellette ties record in Canadiennes win over Brampton

Charline Labonté made 36 saves in her return from injury

Shanna Martin / Eyes on the Prize

It perhaps wasn’t as flashy as she would have liked, but Caroline Ouellette hit another milestone on Saturday night.

The forward scored an empty net goal with 1:13 remaining to give Les Canadiennes a 5-1 lead over the Brampton Thunder at the Brampton Memorial Arena.

The goal was her 130th career goal. With the goal she tied Jayna Hefford as the all-time leading goal scorer in CWHL history. She already has the most points in league history and was the first player to reach the 300 point milestone earlier this season.

Les Canadiennes got off to a huge start with four goals in the first period. Marie-Philip Poulin started it off just 3:43 into the game when she fired a wrist shot over Brampton goaltender Liz Knox.

It was Poulin’s fourth goal in her last four games right after a stretch that saw her score only once over eight games. Her resurgence is very important for a Montreal team that is batting for first place.

Montreal would double their lead when Cathy Chartrand pounced on a loose puck and put a rebound in the net for her second goal of the year.

Three minutes after that, Poulin would break into the zone and fire a shot on Knox, who would make the save and then Ann-Sophie Bettez would pot another rebound to put Montreal up 3-0.

Bettez continued her hot streak that dates back to December 3. In her last nine games, Bettez has 11 goals and 11 assists. In addition to her goal on Saturday, she added an assist. She is two points behind Poulin for the CWHL scoring lead.

After Laura Fortino finished a give-and-go with Laura Stacey with a perfect shot past Labonté, Sarah Lefort would restore Montreal’s three-goal lead with a perfect shot down the right wing.

It was the rookie’s sixth goal of the season.

After Montreal scored four goals on 11 shots in the opening frame, Brampton pulled Knox from the game and replaced her with Erica Howe.

Howe was very impressive in the final two periods, making several big saves among the 24 shots she faced. She did not allow a goal.

Unfortunately for Brampton, neither did Labonté, who was making her first start since January 7. She missed the last three games with an upper body injury, and her return to health - and her return to form - is a huge boost to the Canadiennes.

In her last five starts, she has allowed one goal or fewer four times, all wins with three shutouts. She is 4-1-0 over those starts. She made 36 of 37 saves including some big saves on Jamie-Lee Rattray, and Fortino.

With the win, Montreal moved four points behind the idle Calgary Inferno. Montreal still has a game in hand that they will play Sunday at 1:30 p.m. also at the Brampton Memorial Arena.