Kori Cheverie and her players say they are ready and impatient to start the series

Five players from the Montreal team and head coach Kori Cheverie took turns paraded in front of a group of journalists on Wednesday afternoon and if we had to summarize the essence of their message in a few key words, it would look like this : “we are ready”, “we can’t wait”, “we are excited”, “we can’t wait to play in front of our fans”.

“We are ready. Yes, we are ready” were the first words Cheverie said when she was asked if it was time for the semi-final of the Professional Women’s Hockey League to begin between her training and that of Boston.

This series will take off Thursday evening at Place Bell in front of, once again, a crowd that promises to be imposing at the Laval amphitheater. The scenario of a full house is not ruled out for Thursday’s clash, and as of Wednesday noon, it was almost confirmed for the second match, Saturday evening.

“I can’t wait any longer, especially after what we had here, what we had at Place Bell, what we had at the Bell Centre,” admitted forward Laura Stacey after the last training session. complete team training, held on the second ice of the Auditorium du Verdun, on the eve of the inaugural duel.

“Of course, it’s something really special to have this chance, to have been able to confirm second place and get home ice advantage. We fought for this throughout the year. We’re going to cherish this moment, we’re going to savor it, and we’re going to do everything we can to make this crowd as loud as possible. »

Cheverie admitted that she is looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere of a playoff game in the greater Montreal area and she is convinced that her players will benefit from the support of their fans, especially after this first campaign which exceeded all expectations of the organization at the ticket counters.

“I think our fans are the most important thing. When I think back to the Bell Center game, I had the impression that when the puck dropped, we were winning that game. I’m convinced that the fans were sort of the seventh player on the ice, pushing us forward. I can’t wait to see what the playoff atmosphere can be like in Montreal, after the regular season was quite exceptional. »

A Saturday sequel?

Another word came up frequently in the comments of the Montreal team’s speakers in anticipation of the clash against Boston: robustness.

This feeling is amplified by the fact that the two teams were involved in a tough battle last Saturday as they played their final part of the regular season in very different contexts.

Cheverie’s troop showed up at the Tsongas Center assured of finishing in second place, neither higher nor lower. For its part, Boston needed a victory in regulation time to qualify for the playoffs.

Boston won 4-3 with a late goal in the third period, after letting a 3-0 lead slip after 40 minutes.

The intensity was so high that Stacey almost got into a fight with a rival. During her press scrum Wednesday, Cheverie admitted she had some fears.

“Of course I was afraid for the players. You want them to play a good game, you want to get them ready for the playoffs. [Le match] had no significance in terms of ranking, but it did in terms of morale. The fact that we put in the effort in the third period or the way it ended, I was satisfied as a coach. »

Goalkeeper Ann-Renée Desbiens also expects to see similarities on Thursday evening with Saturday’s game.

“Saturday’s game is unique in the sense that Boston had everything to play for while we already knew where we were [au classement]. It’s certain that it’s a perspective that was different for the two teams,” Desbiens first underlined.

“During the game, we saw that they were very physical, that they were ready to finish all their checks while for us, it perhaps took us a little time to realize that a match hockey was being played. Yes, their intensity, their robustness are things that they will bring to the playoffs, there is no doubt about it. It will be up to us to do the same thing. »

In the final standings, Montreal finished with 41 points, six more than Boston, but the two teams divided the honors of their four clashes. Furthermore, the Boston team has won four of its last five games and lost the other in overtime, a detail that does not escape captain Marie-Philip Poulin.

“To be able to get four three-point victories that they needed, I take my hat off to them for what they did, because they fully deserve it,” Poulin said. But the series is a new season. We will have to be ready tomorrow and the team that focuses on the details will win. »

“I think they’re playing with a greater sense of urgency,” Cheverie said when asked to compare Boston to the club she saw in the first half of the season. »

“There’s talent, but it didn’t seem like it was clicking.” But in the final game, they played with a high sense of urgency to make the playoffs. That’s what stands out, that and their robustness. »

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