In front of a frenzied and passionate crowd, the Montrealers of the LPHF lost 3-2 in overtime against the Bostonians, at the Verdun Auditorium, Saturday afternoon. But the fans’ disappointment quickly gave way to their cheers.
Because at the end of this tense and quality match played in front of a packed house of 3,245 people, the crowd quickly remembered that this meeting was first and foremost a celebration of women’s hockey and its players .
The emotion was palpable in this regard before the match. The players were introduced to the fans one by one, and their warmest welcome was reserved for the great Marie-Philip Poulin, captain of the team. It was difficult to remain frozen at that moment.
The first period was complicated for Montreal, as it is for all local teams at the start of the first LPHF season. Nervousness, emotions, butterflies: the local players did not manage to get out of their zone, let alone build their game in the attacking third. Two penalties awarded in quick succession to Dominika Lásková did not help in this regard either.
Then came the second period. Barely 33 seconds passed before Erin Ambrose unleashed all the energy the Montreal crowd had in the bank. Another 31 seconds later, and the party was well and truly back on track. Laura Stacey made it 2-0 on a very nice shot from the top of the slot.
But what makes this league interesting in its infancy is the balanced level of play on both sides. Boston responded three minutes later, courtesy of Taylor Girard. Interesting feature: this goal was scored while the visitors were shorthanded, which allowed Emily Brown to leave the penalty box, under a new LPHF rule. By scoring this goal, we could say that Girard allowed Brown to escape from prison.
Midway through the second, Hannah Brandt tied the score for the Massachusetts team. Which confirmed what we were seeing: once the excitement at the start of the match had passed, tough hockey was being played in Verdun.
The trend was confirmed in the third period. It was tense. Intense. When Boston goalie Aerin Frankel finally had a break on her side, Ann-Renée Desbiens had to hold down the fort. Luckily for Montreal, this is what the Great Wall of Charlevoix does best.
In overtime, Montreal thought it had closed the debate, but Marie-Philip Poulin’s goal was ultimately refused for obstructing the goalkeeper. Needless to say, there was great disappointment in Verdun. A few moments later, Amanda Pelkey shattered Montreal’s dreams from the left of Desbiens’ net.
More details will follow.