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Les Canadiennes, Sarah Lefort too strong for Vanke in lopsided win

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Lefort scores five as Montreal beats Vanke for the second straight day

Shanna Martin

Sarah Lefort scored five goals and added an assist as Les Canadiennes defeated the Vanke Rays 14-0 on Sunday afternoon at the Michel Normandin arena.

Lefort’s big day tied a team and league record for goals in a game and teammate Katia Clement-Heydra added four goals of her own. It was the first hat trick for both players in the CWHL.

“I don’t think I ever have [scored five goals in a game before],” Lefort said after the game, laughing. “I think four was the most [at Boston University.]”

Lefort has had a strong start to the season, but not necessarily the production to match. Before this weekend, she was pointless in two games playing with Clement-Heydra and Kayla Tutino, so head coach Dany Brunet swapped Lefort and Karell Emard so that Lefort played with Ann-Sophie Bettez and Noémie Marin. It almost immediately sparked both lines.

She now sits at nine goals and nine assists in 19 games this season.

“As a hockey player, the game is always up and down,” Lefort said. “It’s being able to battle through those tough times and focus on the little things. Going hard to the net, taking that shot, and just working hard and battling in the corner and coming out with the puck. Those little things are the things we need to focus on as hockey players and not the result at the end of the day.”

Bettez opened the scoring for Montreal 3:56 into the game when her shot bounced past Tianyi Zhang who got the start for Vanke.

Four minutes later, Emmanuelle Blais would fire a shot from the right circle over Zhang. It was her second goal in two games playing alongside Caroline Ouellette. Ouellette picked up her second assist on the play.

Lefort would score her first of the game before the end of the first period when she put home a rebound off of a Nachi Fujimoto shot.

Montreal would score three power play goals in the second period. Emard would get the first one, tipping an Erin Ambrose point shot and Lefort would do the same thing at 17:25. Ambrose ended the day with four assists.

Clement-Heydra would get her first goal with one minute remaining in the period when she roofed a slap shot from the slot.

Les Canadiennes would score eight more goals in the third period. Clement-Heydra would score three goals in the first 4:14 of the period, meaning that she had her four goals in a span of just over five minutes of game time.

Kim Deschênes and Emard would also score in the third period. Lefort would get three in the frame to complete her crazy game.

Vanke would swap between Zhang and Elaine Chuli for a few minutes in the third to give Zhang a bit of a rest. It should be noted that Zhang didn't play bad enough to reflect the scoreline. A lot of Montreal's goals were absolutely perfect shots that any goaltender would be hard pressed to save.

Emerance Maschmeyer got the shutout for Montreal, playing her second straight game.

The two teams have a day off on Monday before taking back to the ice on Tuesday night, also at the Michel Normandin arena.

Vanke, who has had a tough stretch recently, is still holding on to the final playoff spot in the CWHL. They are 3-7-1 in their last 11 games and are on a four-game losing steak but started the season 8-1-0.

“There's definitely some time for reflection,” said Vanke forward and captain Cayley Mercer. “We have another day off [Monday] before we get back on the ice for Tuesday so for us it’s about channelling our energy. We’re pissed off and we’re frustrated but we want to take that and put it into our game and really be that strong team we were in the beginning. It builds character and moving forward we’re going to stick together as a team and hopefully find a way to come back.”