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Marie-Philip Poulin, Hilary Knight lead Les Canadiennes to sweep in Worcester

The two stars put up a combined 13 points in the two games.

Shanna Martin / Eyes on the Prize

Neither Marie-Philip Poulin nor Hilary Knight are from Massachusetts, but both of them have significant hockey careers in the state, and they made their return known with dominating performances this weekend. The pair combined for six goals and seven assists in Les Canadiennes 5-0 and 9-0 wins over the Worcester Blades this weekend.

Poulin played her NCAA career at Boston University where she left the school as the school’s all-time leading scorer (a mark since passed by her current Les Canadiennes teammate Sarah Lefort) while Hilary Knight played her entire professional career - up to signing with Montreal last season - in Boston. She won two Clarkson Cups with the Blades organization, who moved from Boston to Worcester this offseason and added an Isobel Cup in the NWHL.

Poulin and Knight both had two goals in Saturday’s 5-0 win. Knight had a goal and two assists in the 9-0 win while Poulin had a goal and five assists. Poulin is now tied with Shenzhen’s Alex Carpenter with 13 points for the CWHL lead. Carpenter and Shenzhen has played five games more than Poulin and Montreal.

The two wins not only extended Montreal’s winning streak to six games, it also extended their shutout streak to four games. In their six game winning streak, they have allowed only two goals. They are 7-1-0 to start the season, and have allowed six goals.

“Our biggest thing is to start well defensively and the offence is going to come,” said Les Canadiennes defender Erin Ambrose. “You look at our forward lineup and there’s no better team in the league than our top three lines. That’s something we take a lot of pride in and we need to make sure we take care of our own zone before we get going. That’s something we focus on and want to continue to do, especially going into Calgary next weekend.”

A lot of that is due to Emerance Maschmeyer. She posted her third straight shutout in Saturday’s 5-0 win, lowering her goals against average to 0.72 on the season, and putting her save percentage up to .963. She is 6-1-0 on the year.

On Sunday, Marie-Soleil Deschênes — who her teammates call Sunshine — made her second career CWHL start. She made 27 saves for her second CWHL shutout. She has yet to allow a professional goal.

“It’s great to have Sunshine come in and do what she does,” said Ambrose, who scored two goals in Sunday’s win. “She’s such a calming presence for us and gives us the ability to just play our game. Obviously [Maschmeyer] and [Geneviève Lacasse] are two of the best goalies in the world but she does a great job of coming in and doing what she needs to do and we’re lucky to have her.”

Both of Ambrose’s goals came on the power play, where she plays with Knight, Poulin, Mélodie Daoust and Ann-Sophie Bettez on Montreal’s top unit.

“[Playing with Knight and Poulin] makes my job easy [on the power play],” Ambrose said. “I know they’re going to make the right play with the puck and create a lot of things and that’s something I can continue to focus on and create lanes and give them more time and space with the puck.

“It’s no secret that they are two of the best players in the world and add Mélo and Ann-So on that power play and it’s dangerous. We all know that and our opponents know that.”

Les Canadiennes also got a great performance from Ann-Sophie Bettez (two goals, four assists). Taylor Willard, Mélodie Daoust, Catherine Daoust, and Emma Martin scored the other goals for Montreal. It was the first career goals for C. Daoust and Martin.

Notes

  • Sarah Lefort and Jill Saulnier did not play for Montreal this weekend. They are likely nursing injuries. Lacasse didn’t dress either, and hasn’t yet this season.
  • Not only did Martin score her first CWHL goal, it was also her first CWHL games. And her parents made the trip from Prince Edward Island to see it.
  • Montreal’s next challenge are the Calgary Inferno. The two teams split their season-opening series in Montreal and those defeats are the only ones for each team. Calgary swept the Toronto Furies in Toronto this weekend.