Professional women’s hockey league | Montreal loses to record crowd in Minnesota

If it is still time to celebrate the first historic moments of the Professional Women’s Hockey League (LPHF), Montrealers are currently struggling to really get going.

The Montreal team lost 3-0 to Minnesota on Saturday afternoon in St. Paul.

This match was played in front of a new record crowd for professional women’s hockey. A few days were enough to beat the established mark of 8,300 people in Ottawa on Tuesday: the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul received no fewer than 13,316 guests for this first Minnesota home game.

A few dozen of these supporters also had the chance to take off their headgear at the end of the match: it was necessary to properly celebrate the first hat trick in the history of the LPHF, courtesy of a Grace Zumwinkle in a state of grace in this match.

Nervousness and penalties

Early game nerves – or butterflies – have been the theme of early matches in the LPHF, and this one was no exception.

Despite some disjointed play on both sides, the first period was theoretically to the advantage of the visiting team. Montreal created several opportunities to score, especially with excess numbers.


Grace Zumwinkle (13)

But it was in the deep offensive zone that the team lacked success, either by missing passes or shooting off target. The two against one wasted by an offering from Laura Stacey in the skates of Marie-Philip Poulin, in the middle of the first engagement, comes to mind.

We were telling you about Zumwinkle: the player from the University of Minnesota scored the first goal of the game, and her second in two games, at the very end of the first period. Her lovely backhand shot from a tight angle near the net mystified goalkeeper Ann-Renée Desbiens.

In the second period, as is the trend at the start of the season, the play of both teams rose a notch. Montreal dominated, but mainly thanks to the indiscipline of Minnesota, who received three penalties in 20 minutes.

But faced with the efforts of Vanišová, Poulin and Stacey, in particular, the jailer Maddie Rooney was imperial. And his team needed it, since Montreal had the upper hand in terms of scoring chances and faceoffs.

Zumwinkle – yes, her again – greatly complicated things for Montreal from the start of the third. His 2-0 goal was followed by a period punctuated by indiscipline for the Montreal team. Four penalties in quick succession stifled the hopes of Kori Cheverie’s players. They were devastated when Zumwinkle completed his haul with an empty-net goal.

Since the notion of history being written is essential in this month of January in the LPHF, it was the first time in five occasions that the local team won a match at home.

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