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PWHPA: Montreal comeback falls short as they lose their first game

Montreal still holds a one-point lead in the standings.

Dave Holland / PWHPA

A late comeback attempt fell just short as Montreal fell 4-3 to Toronto at the PWHPA Dream Gap Tour showcase in Calgary on Thursday evening.

Montreal fell behind 4-1 with 13:36 remaining when Jamie Lee Rattray tipped home the Ella Shelton pass past Geneviève Lacasse, making her first start in the tournament. Lacasse made 21 saves in the game.

Shortly after the Rattray goal, Rebecca Leslie fired a quick shot from the left circle to get Montreal to within two goals as her shot beat Tiley. The play started with a great outlet pass from Erin Ambrose to Jessie Eldridge, who then got the puck to Leslie.

Leslie lives in Ottawa but travels to Montreal in order to practice with the team.

Montreal pulled within one in the final minute of the game when Marie-Philip Poulin — who else — scored her third goal of the tournament one-timing an Emily Clark pass past Tiley.

The goal highlighted one of the wrinkles of the modified point system in the round robin. Montreal didn’t pull Lacasse with a late power play because a fifth Toronto goal would have given Toronto an extra point in the standings. If that goal was shorthanded, it would have given them a second point.

As it stands, even with the loss, Montreal holds a one-point lead over Toronto. Both teams have one game remaining.

Montreal pushed hard for the equalizer, but Toronto goaltender Shea Tiley stood tall making 27 saves in the win.

Early in the game, Montreal had to defend a 1:10 five-on-three, which was killed with aggressive play from Clark, Catherine Daoust, and Karell Emard.

Toronto would open the scoring, however. Sarah Nurse led Natalie Spooner with a long stretch pass and Spooner made no mistake with her shot on the breakaway with 13.4 seconds remaining.

Early in the second period, Victoria Bach beat Erin Ambrose in a foot race and beat Lacasse with a nice backhand shot and deke to make it a 2-0 game.

It was a 3-0 lead for Toronto when Nicole Kosta scored right as a Toronto penalty expired.

Montreal’s first goal came from Laura Stacey and this one was shorthanded. Due to the modified scoring system, that goal is currently the difference in the standings.

Montreal plays the last game of their round robin on Friday at 3:30 p.m. on Sportsnet and against Calgary. A win would all but secure their spot in Sunday’s final at 4:30 p.m. ET which will also be broadcast on Sportsnet.

Standings (four games total, two between each team)

MONTREAL — 2-1-0-0 — 7 POINTS (2 regulation wins, 2 SH goals, 1 5+ goal game)
TORONTO — 2-1-0-0 — 6 POINTS (2 regulation wins, 1 hat trick, 1 5+ goal game)
CALGARY — 0-2-0-0 — 0 POINTS