In a game where the primary sponsor was a security company, both starting goaltenders, Emerance Maschmeyer for Montreal and Liz Knox for Markham, were out to prove their nets were secure.
Sunday afternoon, Montreal beat the visiting Markham Thunder 2-1 in a shootout at the Michel Normandin arena. Maschmeyer made 22 saves in the win, including six in overtime alone, and Knox made 32 in the shootout loss.
It was the fifth and final game of the season series between the two teams and each of those games have ended in either overtime or a shootout, with Montreal winning each game.
The win helped Montreal (11-2-0) move into a three-way tie for the Canadian Women’s Hockey League lead in points with the Calgary Inferno and the Kunlun Red Star.
As opposed to the game Saturday evening which saw Montreal jump to a 2-0 lead with two quick goals 29 seconds apart in the first, Sunday’s tilt at Arena Michel-Normandin had a scoreless opening period. Though both teams exchanged a few chances, both Maschmeyer and Knox were up to the task, with Montreal ahead in shots 7-5 after one.
Late in the first period, Montreal had a powerplay and despite good cycling, they weren’t able to capitalize. Canadiennes forward Kayla Tutino was body checked hard into the boards with no call from the officials and left the ice in pain. She would finish the game.
The middle frame would begin with an exchange of penalties with Montreal taking two and Markham getting one. Les Canadiennes power play units were both working cohesively and it looked as though Knox was unbeatable, making huge saves including a big one on Montreal rookie Tracy-Ann Lavigne who fired a turn-around shot right into the chest of Knox.
“The wins show that we’re good, and fit,” said Lavigne. “I’m feeling good so far this season, hopefully getting better on the ice, and possibly scoring a goal.”
The goose egg was finally broken with 5:15 left on the clock when Erin Ambrose, playing in her second game on her new team found forward Marion Allemoz who buried a wrist shot right from the face-off circle just over Knox’s blocker. The goal was Allemoz’s second in as many games, and her fourth of the season. Ambrose’s assist was her third point in two games since being acquired earlier in the week.
“I think the best thing is playing with this group of girls,” said Ambrose. “There’s a lot of talent in this room. I’m just happy to help contribute with two big wins this weekend and help be a part of it.”
She also added that the transition has been smooth, and is excited to see how the rest of the season will play out.
43 seconds later it appeared as though the Thunder had tied the game up at one apiece, but the goal was quickly waved off as it was deemed that the Markham forward Becca King interfered with Maschmeyer.
After 40 minutes the game was a 1-0 Montreal lead, and the game remained that way until the Thunder got the equalizer when Jamie Lee Rattray got her 13th goal of the season. Her 13 goals are only behind Kunlun Red Star’s Kelli Stack’s 17.
It seemed as though every time Markham got an opportunity in the game, Rattray and linemates Kristen Richards and Laura McIntosh were the focal points getting the chances.
Rattray also had a chance to break the tie in the dying seconds of the game, but Maschmeyer stood tall and kept the game a stalemate. The Markham forward got a couple other chances in overtime, and Montreal was able to conserve the tie.
“There’s so much emotion in these games, we would’ve liked to win, but I’m still super proud of all the girls,” said Rattray. “The points are still huge and for us to take them into each game and go to extra time, it’s a testament to our team’s play.”
After overtime solved nothing, these two teams faced off in a shootout for the second time this season. In their previous matchup that went to a shootout, captain Ann-Sophie Bettez got the game winner. In Sunday’s tilt, it was teammate Katia Clement-Heydra’s turn, and as the first shooter out-waited Knox and stuffed the puck in.
After Taylor Woods and Rattray missed for the Thunder, it was all on the stick of Laura McIntosh, but she couldn’t find the back of the net and Montreal were the winners of the game, and their fifth straight on the season.
“Both teams came out really hard, and the win gave me (and our team) a lot of confidence, it was a huge testament to how we’re playing moving forward,” said Maschmeyer. “Sometimes patience is key in those moments, this definitely helps us all moving forward. We’re in a very good place right now.”
- Montreal played the game without forwards Kim Deschênes and Jordanna Peroff, who were both out with injuries.
- Marion Allemoz who had one goal all of last season currently has four already at this point in the season.
- Les Canadiennes now start their holiday break but their next two games, on January 6 and 7, will be a battle for first place in Calgary against the Inferno.