Montreal loses to Toronto 3-2 in overtime at LPHF game

The atmosphere was festive on Saturday at the Bell Centre, although the Montreal Canadiens’ season had ended four days earlier.

The Montreal team of the Professional Women’s Hockey League and that of Toronto played a game in front of a record crowd of 21,105 spectators, officially a full house at the Bell Center despite a few seats visibly not occupied by their buyer.

Sarah Nurse, however, played spoilsport by scoring her second goal of the match, in overtime, and the visitors won the game 3-2.

The previous attendance record for a women’s hockey game was 19,285 and was set at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on February 16 in a game between the same two teams.

The captain of Montreal and the Canadian women’s hockey team, Marie-Philip Poulin, was greeted like a queen during the players’ presentation and seemed to have difficulty containing her emotions.

Once the game started, the two teams put on a show that delighted the spectators, sold in advance. The crowd was loud and waved the towels handed out to each of them, as you sometimes see in the NHL playoffs.

Sarah Bujold and Erin Ambrose scored for Montreal (8-3-5-5). Ann-Renée Desbiens stopped 37 shots.

Blayre Turnbull also scored for Toronto (10-4-0-7), which qualified for the playoffs. Emma Maltais had two assists and Kristen Campbell made 30 saves.

The Montreal club will play its next match on Wednesday, against New York, at the Verdun Auditorium. This will be their last home game of the regular season.

A match between rivals

Campbell allowed Toronto to survive the storm at the start of the game.

She made two good saves against Kristin O’Neill and was also lucky when Mikyla Grant-Mentis hit the post to her left.

Turnbull then opened the scoring for Toronto at 9:43. His shot escaped Desbiens and the puck slipped slowly behind the goal line.

Grant-Mentis had a chance to quickly respond when she escaped, but her shot grazed Campbell before deflecting against the post again.

Montreal was once again unlucky late in the first period. Laura Stacey hit the crossbar after a fine delivery from O’Neill from the back of the net.

Bujold finally allowed the Montreal club to retreat to the locker room in a 1-1 stalemate. She beat Campbell with 19 seconds left with a precise shot from the side of the shield.

Toronto regained the lead 40 seconds into the second period. Nurse expertly deflected an Allie Munroe shot into the top corner of the net. The goal was confirmed after a lengthy video check to ensure that Nurse had not touched the puck higher than the permitted height.

The visitors were the most threatening in the second half, but they were unable to widen the gap. Maggie Connors notably missed an open net after a lively cross ball from Maltais.

Montreal once again tied the game in the last minute of the period. This time, Ambrose scored on the power play with 25.9 seconds remaining, thanks to a point shot that surprised Campbell on the glove side.

Both goalkeepers made some good saves in the third period, extending the suspense.

Nurse finally decided after 13 seconds of play in overtime.

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