The message before the game for Les Canadiennes was to control their emotions. They knew that the Toronto Furies would come out physical, but it wasn't until the final seven minutes of Montreal’s 7-1 win on Saturday evening at the Michel Normandin arena that things boiled over.
Montreal had a 4-1 lead and was in control of the game when Karell Emard and Jenna Dingeldein got tangled up along the boards. Dingeldein got Emard to the ice and it got players on both sides to congregate. At the end of the scuffle, off to the side, Toronto defender Michelle Saunders threw a punch at Montreal's Noémie Marin's head. Saunders got a five-minute major and game misconduct for contact to the head.
Less than three minutes later, Brittany Zuback also took a five-minute major for spearing.
Instead of playing out the game, Montreal and coach Dany Brunet decided to make Toronto pay. He put out the top power play unit to make it 5-1 (on a goal by Marin) and then put out five forwards on the ensuing face-off to make it 6-1 on a goal from Kim Deschênes (her second of the game). Erinn Noseworthy made it 7-1 with 6.3 seconds remaining.
“Usually with a big lead, you're respectful and you take your foot off the gas and you play everyone. But we won't respect people who don't respect us. So we put our foot on the gas and we wanted to hit them back,” Brunet said.
“We wanted to respond but we'd rather play hockey,” said Emmanuelle Blais who had a goal and an assist. “We're a team that is skilled and I think that because we're defending champions teams want to be a little more physical against us.”
“We wanted to control our emotions,” Deschênes said. “We were able to defend our teammates and when it comes to taking a right hook to the face, we'll take it and fight back with a power play. It hurts more to score a goal than take a penalty.”
A lot has been said about Montreal’s top six, especially after last weekend’s pair of wins, but it was their third line that was the difference in Saturday’s win.
The line of Deschênes, Marion Allemoz and Blais contributed four goals en route to the win.
Montreal opened the scoring 5:31 into the game on the power play. After some quick puck movement, Ann-Sophie Bettez fired a wrist shot past Makela from the right circle. It was her fifth goal in three games since being named captain and ninth of the year.
Deschênes scored the team’s second goal 12:33 into the first period when she took a stretch pass from Cathy Chartrand, drove in on the left wing and fired the puck past Toronto goaltender Amanda Makela. She added two assists and got Montreal's sixth goal.
Just three minutes after Montreal made it 2-0, Cassandra Poudrier made it 3-0 with her first goal of the season with assists from Blais and Deschenes.
Toronto got on the board with 2:19 remaining in the period when shortly after a Carolyne Prevost scoring chance, Jessica Platt scored her first career CWHL goal when she fired a shot from the slot past Montreal goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer.
Les Canadiennes extended their lead in the second period when Blais broke in on a two-on-one with Allemoz and fired a shot past Makela’s blocker to make it 4-1.
The game would stay like that until the penalties in the third period.
Montreal's power play ended up officially 4/6 on the night and they outshot Toronto 40-18.
- Makela made her second start of the season, and first against Montreal. She was a member of the Clarkson Cup champion Canadiennes last season but did not play a game. She was traded to Toronto over the off-season.
- Bettez’s goal was the 90th of her CWHL career, which is fourth all-time behind just Caroline Ouellette, Jayna Hefford, and Marin.
- With her first point, Blais moved into 12th spot all-time in CWHL scoring. Cathy Chartrand broke a three-way tie for 15th with her assist on Bettez’s goal.
- Les Canadiennes will have a bunch of alumni on hand on Sunday as they raise their championship banners from their four Clarkson Cup championships. It is the first such ceremony. Tickets for Sunday’s game are 15$ and are available at the door.