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CWHL recap & highlights: Les Canadiennes drop China opener to Vanke Rays

A third period lead wasn’t enough.

Shanna Martin

Less than 24 hours after landing in China, Les Canadiennes faced off for their first game in China as they faced off against the Vanke Rays. They lost 3-2 in a game where passes struggled to connect and the team looked like a team that was dealing with the issues of travelling.

The game started off with Montreal needing saves from Emerance Maschmeyer to keep the game scoreless. One of the chances came off the stick of Hanna Bunton, but the Canadiennes goaltender was up to the task.

Shortly after a Montreal power play expired, they took the lead at even strength. Tracy-Ann Lavigne fired the game's first goal as she batted an Emmanuelle Blais rebound past Vanke goaltender Elaine Chuli.

The lead was short lived as Vake was quick to respond 26 seconds later as Brooke Webster was credited for the goal after a scramble in front.

The second period was a rough start for Les Canadiennes, as they allowed a three on one early on but Vanke was not able to get the goal.

But they took the lead in the frame when Noémie Marin put home a rebound off of an Ann-Sophie Bettez shot. It was Marin's 131st career goal, tying her for the CWHL all-time record with Caroline Ouellette, who didn't make the trip and set the record in the team's final game before the Olympic break. It was also Marin's 250th career CWHL point.

In the third period, Vanke would tie the game back up at 2-2 when Ashleigh Brykaliuk took a shot that was tipped by Cayley Mercer past Maschmeyer 6:09 into the period. The goal was officially scored as unassisted.

Montreal's sloppiness would come to a head with just under five minutes remaining. A poor clearing attempt by the defence led to a sequence that involved a takedown in front (which caused a delayed penalty), Maschmeyer making a big pad save, and finally Xin Fang potting the rebound into the net.

Montreal would have some opportunities in an ensuing four-on-four, and with Maschmeyer pulled, but shortly after a Karell Emard shot was saved by Chuli, Emard would take a penalty in the game's final seconds which effectively ended any chance of a tying goal as Les Canadiennes could not create any chances.

The two teams will play their second of two games on Monday morning at 6:30 EST.

Notes

  • Karell Emard, who has played forward the last two years after starting her CWHL career as a defender was back on defence as the team was missing Cassandra Poudrier (injury) and Erin Ambrose, who will join the team later on the trip. Kim Deschênes took Emard's spot with Katia Clement-Heydra and Kayla Tutino.