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PWHPA: Montreal beats Calgary in final round robin game

Montreal books their ticket to the championship game.

Dave Holland / PWHPA

The Montreal and Toronto chapters of the PWHPA will face each other for the third time at the Secret Dream Gap Tour stop in Calgary, but this time it will be for the championship.

The two teams split their previous two meetings in the round robin. The championship game will be held on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on Sportsnet and streamed on Sportsnet Now, and Youtube.

On Friday, Jessie Eldridge’s beautiful individual effort to get around the defender and fire a shot past Calgary goaltender Kristen Campbell gave Montreal (Team Bauer) a 4-3 victory in the first of three games at Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome, where the showcase will finish. It was Montreal’s final round robin game.

It was Eldridge’s second goal of the tournament.

Montreal took the early lead 1:39 into the game when Kristin O’Neill pounced on the loose puck for her first PWHPA goal. The Cornell graduate, who was named to Canada’s Olympic centralization roster, moved to Montreal to train with the PWHPA at Centre 21.02 in Verdun.

Calgary, who had not practiced as a team and who have some players that have not skated at all prior to this week due to COVID-19 restrictions, have been steadily improving as the showcase has gone on. They came right back and tied the game when Rebecca Johnston’s tip made its way past Ann-Renée Desbiens less than a minute later.

In the final minute of the first period, Montreal used a power play to take back the lead. In a goal similar to the first one, Alexandra Labelle got the final touch on a puck in the crease to make it a 2-1 game. It was the University of Montreal graduate’s first PWHPA goal as well.

Montreal doubled their lead just before the midway mark of the second period. As the puck was bouncing around in the Calgary end, it made its way to the slot and Marie-Philip Poulin seemed to know where it was heading the entire time. She got to the puck first and made no mistake to score her tournament-leading fourth goal of the tournament.

Poulin also assisted on Eldridge’s game-winning goal give her eight points in four games, which leads the tournament.

Calgary wouldn’t fold in this game, despite the two-goal deficit.

Late in the second period, with a power play, Johnston found Blayre Turnbull who redirected the shot past Desbiens to make it 3-2. It was Turnbull’s second goal of the tournament.

The line of Johnston, Turnbull, and Sarah Potomak would once again strike to tie the game in the third period. Turnbull’s shot made its way to Potomak in the slot and the PWHPA rookie made no mistake. It was her third goal of the tournament.

Montreal played their final round robin game without Ann-Sophie Bettez, who left Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

Toronto lost their final round robin game on Saturday afternoon, 3-2 to Calgary.

Standings (four games total, two between each team)

MONTREAL — 3-1-0-0 — 9 POINTS (2 regulation wins, 2 SH goals, 1 5+ goal game)
TORONTO — 2-2-0-0 — 6 POINTS (2 regulation wins, 1 hat trick, 1 5+ goal game)
CALGARY — 1-3-0-0 — 2 POINTS