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Sarah Lefort’s strong effort leads Canadiennes over Inferno in season finale

Marie-Philip Poulin clinches a tie for scoring title, Ann-Sophie Bettez wins goal scoring race

Shanna Martin / Eyes on the Prize

After a disappointing shutout loss on Saturday night, Les Canadiennes had themselves a scoring frenzy in their 2016-17 regular season finale against the Calgary Inferno.

Calgary’s Blayre Turnbull found herself off to the races shorthanded to beat Catherine Herron for the first goal of the game. Luckily for Montreal, however, it only took them two and a half minutes for Canadiennes rookie Sarah Lefort to tie things up at the 8:50 mark.

Montreal would bag their own shorthanded goal later in the period, when Ann-Sophie Bettez scored her 18th of the year to finish off the season with the most goals scored in the league. Bettez ended the year with 36 points — a single point behind Angela James Bowl co-winners Marie-Philip Poulin and Brampton’s Jess Jones.

This continues Bettez’s remarkable streak of finishing in the top five in league scoring in every CWHL season of her career, now five.

The remainder of the first period, as well as the early half of the second remained relatively quiet, with both teams unable to capitalize on their respective powerplay opportunities. It was Kim Deschênes who got things going yet again midway through the second when she was found by her captain Poulin, to give Montreal a two-goal lead.

But the scoring wasn’t about to stop there.

With veteran defender Cathy Chartrand in the box for slashing 13:44 into the second, it only took Calgary five seconds to cut Montreal’s lead in half with Brigette Lacquette’s power play marker. Chartrand would make up for putting her team at a disadvantage by sneaking one past Geneviève Lacasse with Calgary’s Bailey Bram serving a hooking call.

The veteran’s goal would make the score 4-2 with less than three minutes remaining in the second period.

It was Chartrand’s 100th career CWHL point. She was already the CWHL’s all-time leading scorer among defenders and now becomes the first CWHL defender to reach 100 points.

But the Inferno refused to throw in the towel.

Calgary’s Jessica Campbell wasted no time early on in the third to once again cut her team’s deficit in half, but Sarah Lefort would come up big for the third time (after having assisted on Chartrand’s goal) to score her ninth of the season and restore the Montreal club’s two-goal lead halfway through the period and complete her three-point game.

Herron made 25/28 saves for Montreal in the win. Les Canadiennes peppered Lacasse with 38 shots. It was Lacasse’s first loss of the season.

With Montreal’s loss last night, this game didn’t mean anything in the standings, but a solid effort will surely allow the team to go into their best-of-three semi-final against the Brampton Thunder with momentum.

The playoffs get underway Friday evening at 7:20 p.m. with game one of the series. Montreal was 4-1-1 against Brampton this season with an overtime win.

Tickets for the semi-final are available here.