Montréal hosts Ottawa for the first time this season in opening game rematch
LAVAL, QC (January 27, 2024) – The fourth week of the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) season continues with a pair of Saturday afternoon games, including a 3:30 p.m. ET matchup between Ottawa and Montréal at Place Bell.
WHERE TO WATCH
Canadian viewers can tune-in live on CBC and stream on CBC Gem, cbcsports.ca, and the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices. Andi Petrillo will host in-studio alongside analysts Hailey Salvian and Saroya Tinker. Live action at Place Bell will be called by Daniella Ponticelli on play-by-play with analyst Becky Kellar and reporter Anastasia Bucsis. The game is also streaming on the league’s YouTube channel for the United States audience. French coverage can be seen live on RDS2 with host Andrée-Anne Barbeau, desk analyst Karell Émard, Claudine Douville on play-by-play, and Isabelle Leclaire providing colour commentary.
SETTING THE STAGE
Montréal (3-1-2-1) puts its first-place record on the line for the first time since taking over top spot in the standings with 13 points following Wednesday’s 2-1 win in Minnesota. Ottawa (2-0-2-1) is tied for third place with eight points and look to get back into the win column after suffering their first regulation loss of the season on Wednesday by a 3-2 score against Boston. It’s the second of four games Montréal will play at Place Bell this season, with Ottawa also returning on March 10. The team secured its first-ever home win in this building on Jan. 16 with a 3-2 victory over New York. Montréal has an overall record of 1-0-2-0 on home ice this season, counting a 3-2 overtime loss to Boston on Jan. 13, and a 4-3 shootout loss to Toronto on Jan. 20, both at Verdun Auditorium. Ottawa has played just one road game so far this season, beating Toronto 5-1 at Mattamy Athletic Centre on Jan. 13. Neither team has won or lost consecutive games all season, a trend that favours Ottawa given its most recent loss and Montréal’s latest victory. Montréal has points in five straight games, and six of seven overall. They beat Ottawa 3-2 in overtime in the Jan. 2 season opener. Today’s game features the league’s two most potent offences, with Ottawa (2.80) and Montréal (2.57) ranked one-two in goals-per-game.
RECAP BEFORE THE REMATCH
The first PWHL game played in Montréal and Ottawa team history was head-to-head on Jan. 2 at The Arena at TD Place before a crowd of 8,318 which, at the time, set a professional women’s hockey attendance record. The fans were treated to a thrilling back-and-forth affair that ended with Montréal securing the league’s first overtime victory, a 3-2 win, with Ann-Sophie Bettez the hero. Hayley Scamurra scored Ottawa’s historic first goal, and Claire Dalton’s first as a pro was the first in Montréal history. Kateřina Mrázová (OTT) and Laura Stacey (MTL) also scored for their teams, and Ashton Bell (OTT) had two assists. Ann-Renée Desbiens picked up the win with 26 saves, and Emerance Maschmeyer stopped 21 shots in defeat.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
All three forwards on Montréal’s top line are the team’s leading scorers including captain and two-time PWHL First Star of the Week Marie-Philip Poulin who has seven points and a league-high six goals. Tereza Vanišová, who will miss Saturday’s game, scored a goal and an assist in Wednesday’s win in Minnesota to bring her point total to seven, and Maureen Murphy is tied for the league-lead with six assists. Catherine Dubois will step back into the lineup for Montréal and slot into the top line. For Ottawa, first-year pro Lexie Adzija leads the way with five points, including three goals, and has a point in all five of the team’s games to open the season. Captain Brianne Jenner has two points in her last two games and is one of 13 Ottawa players with two or more points this season. Montréal also has 13 multi-point performers and together share the league-lead.
HAPPY FOR HUNGARY
The Youth Olympic Games are underway in Gangwon, South Korea, and for the first time includes a women’s 3-on-3 tournament. Hungary won gold in the eight-team event, defeating Korea in the final. Ottawa’s Fanni Garát-Gasparics is the only Hungarian-born player in the PWHL this season and has been competing on her national team for more than a decade, including the last three top division IIHF Women’s World Championships. The 29-year-old had Youth Olympic success of her own, winning a silver medal in the Girls Skills Challenge at the 2012 event.
NHL ALL-STAR THURSDAY
Eight players in today’s game will represent the league in the Canadian Tire PWHL 3-on-3 Showcase, taking place during NHL All-Star Thursday on Feb. 1 at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena. Ann-Renée Desbiens (MTL) and Marie-Philip Poulin (MTL) will join Savannah Harmon (OTT) on Team King, up against Erin Ambrose (MTL), Laura Stacey (MTL), Emily Clark (OTT), Brianne Jenner (OTT), and Emerance Maschmeyer (OTT) on Team Kloss. In 2020, teams of American and Canadian elite players went head-to-head in an All-Star 3-on-3 competition that included Desbiens and Poulin. Last year, Clark was among a group who took part in the skills competition in Florida.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Montréal captain Marie-Philip Poulin on the team’s superb goaltending…
“Our goaltenders have kept us in games in which we weren’t exactly playing well in front of them. It’s been a big difference maker for us. They get a lot of shots, and we have the responsibility to create more offensive opportunities and take advantage of our power play chances to help our goaltenders.”
Ottawa defender Amanda Boulier about playing a third game this week…
“Obviously we’ve had a lot of volume this week. Two games and a day off in between. We’re definitely ready. Our legs are feeling good after an off day. We’re excited. Playing in Montréal for the first time this season, we’re really looking forward to that. We had a great battle with them in our home opener here. Ultimately, we lost in OT, but I think we match up really well together. We’re looking forward to taking them on in their home barn.”
“We are confident, regardless of who is playing in net. They are giving us a chance to go through whatever it is we are trying to work on right now, with our play in our own end. When we will have cleaned that up, we will be comfortable.” – Kori Cheverie, Montréal.
“They’ve done really well, obviously, sitting at the top of the standings right now. So, we’re just going to go in there and make sure that our game is growing in the way that we want. We really like the way our last game ended for us. We liked the last couple of periods. We are just going to build off that.” – Carla MacLeod, Ottawa.
Ottawa (+3) is second in goal differential and Montréal (+1) is tied for third…Ottawa (2.20) has the second lowest goals-against-average per game…Montréal (2.43) ranks fourth…Both Montréal and Ottawa have scored the first goal in four games and have a .750 point-percentage when scoring first…Ottawa leads the league with seven goals in the first period and a plus-4 differential…Montréal has scored five goals in the first period and is plus-3 in the frame…Ottawa (+8) ranks second in shot differential and Montréal (-24) ranks fifth…Montréal (28.0) ranks fourth in shots-per-game average and Ottawa (27.8) ranks fifth…Ottawa (26.2) allows the second fewest shots-per-game on average and Montréal (31.57) allows the second most…Ottawa (5/16) ranks first with a powerplay efficiency of 31.3%…Montréal (1/20) ranks last at 5%… Montréal (18/21) is tied for third in penalty kill efficiency at 85.7%…Ottawa (10/12) ranks fifth at 83.3%…Marie-Philip Poulin (MTL) and Tereza Vanišová are tied for second in league scoring with seven points…Poulin leads the league with six goals…Vanišová and Maureen Murphy (MTL) are tied for the league-lead with six assists…Ashton Bell (OTT) is tied for second in scoring among defenders with four points…Lexie Adzija (OTT) is one a five-game point-streak…Adzija is tied for the league-lead with two powerplay goals…Adzija leads with a 50% shooting percentage…Poulin ranks second with a plus-6 rating…Vanišová and Dominika Lásková (MTL) are tied for fourth with eight penalty minutes…Poulin and Laura Stacey are tied for the team lead with 25 shots…Gabbie Hughes leads Ottawa with 15 shots…Sarah Bujold (30/51) leads Montréal with a 58.8% face-off efficiency…Poulin (57.6%) has taken the most draws with 165…Brianne Jenner (38/71) leads Ottawa with a 53.5% face-off efficiency and has taken the most draws for her team…Emerance Maschmeyer (OTT) has two wins and ranks fifth with a goals-against-average of 1.89 and sixth with a save percentage of .924… Ann-Renée Desbiens (MTL) has two wins and ranks seventh with a 2.35 GAA and seventh with a .915 SV%…Reserve player Catherine Dubois (MTL) has been signed to a short term (10-day) Standard Player Agreement for the second time this season…Vanišová will celebrate her 28th birthday on Tuesday Jan. 30.
Dubois | Poulin | Murphy
Marchment | O’Neill | Stacey
Bettez | Bujold | David
Lefort | Dempsey | Dalton
Keopple | Ambrose
Tabin | Lásková
Bizal | Daoust
Scratches: Boissonnault, Laganière, Vanišová
Clark | Hughes | Watts
Scamurra | Jenner | Adzija
Gasparics | Mrázová | Snodgrass
Grant-Mentis | Della Rovere | Shiga
Harmon | Bell
Boyd | Boulier
Howran | Roese
Scratches: Abstreiter, Gilmore, Tejralová
Referees: Alexandra Clarke (Griffith, SK) and Shauna Neary (Halifax, NS).
Linespersons: Ali Beres (Brant, ON) and Spender Knox (Clarington, ON).