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Saturday's Matches - PWHPA Showcase Montreal

October 15, 2022, 10:35 PM ET [1 Comments]
Karine Hains
Blogger •Women's Hockey • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Follow me @KarineHains for all updates about the Montreal Canadiens and women's hockey

There’s been a shuffling of the deck of cards prior to this year’s edition of the Secret Dream Gap Tour of the PWHPA. The players no longer represent the team closest to where they reside, and it makes the games even more interesting. When we watch the Olympics, we are used to seeing the same teammates go to war against their bitter rivals but now, you can see the great Hilary Knight link up with Micah Zandee-Hart, different country, different age but same talent level and love of the game. There needs to be a league in which we can see these talented women play.

Watching Team Sonnet from the press box this afternoon, I couldn’t help but think that time is of the essence. The women’s game has never been in as good health as it is now, but some of the most talented players are not getting any younger. Hilary Knight is now 33 years old and even though these ladies will tell you they are taking this stand for the future generations; they should be able to reap what they sow.

The curtain opener of the day treated fans to fast-paced skillful action, it took 33 minutes before the first penalty was called, there’s no denying that the women’s game is different from the men’s game but that’s definitely not a bad thing, It’s a nice change to be honest. Breakaways, quick passing play, hard shots, it has it all, everything but the bone crushing hits and that’s not a bad thing. The result is a faster, smoother brand of hockey which could hook many fans if they were willing to give it a chance.

These athletes are impressive in their own right, they’ve spent years perfecting their craft and it shows. Jenner and Knight were both forces on the puck in the first game that their Sonnet Team won 4-2 thanks to an Erin Ambrose wicked shot from the slot and an empty net goal to nail the final nail in the Team Scotiabank coffin. It was a tightly contested affair which was tied right up until the very end, since the Ambrose goal came with only 26 seconds to go in the game. On the losers’ side, Melodie Daoust and Alex Carpenter, national team rivals usually, showed some chemistry which should only grow as the season goes on.

Speaking of Daoust, she now coaches the College Bourget’s Voltigeur team alongside her partner Hanna Bunton and their team was there, the young ladies were cheering both teams equally since Bunton was playing for Team Sonnet while Daoust lined-up for Team Scotiabank. After the game, they both went over to salute their protégés. A very touching moment, considering that the stars of today are fighting for these young women to have a viable league to play in.

The second game of the day featured a star-studded line-up with Sarah Nurse, Kendall Coyne-Schofield and Jill Saulnier making up the first line of Team Adidas and Maddie Rooney backstopping them in net. On the blue line Meagan Mikkelson, Renata Fast and Jocelyne Larocque were entrusted with keeping Team Harvey’s firepower in check. The local favorites were lead by Marie-Philip Poulin, Jessie Eldridge, Emily Clark and Jamie Lee Rattray. On the back end, strong veterans Laura Fortino and Laurianne Rougeau were tasked with protecting Ann-Renée Desbiens in Team Harvey’s net.

This match-up was more robust than the first one of the day, and a couple of penalties were awarded in the first period, but both goaltenders multiplied impressive saves. Desbiens flashed her glove at one end while Rooney frustrated Team Harvey’s on a masterfully deflected shot. Jamie Lee Rattray was the only one who managed to get the puck past Rooney in the first frame and Team Harvey’s retreated to the locker room with a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes. Unfortunately, much like for the first game of the day, the crowd failed to turn up to see this battle. There’s got to be a way to get the word out about these events well in advance. I mean the Montreal Canadiens only tweeted about the event this morning, barely 3 hours before puck drop. One would have thought that with Marie-Philip Poulin being part of the organization, they would have tried to help.

Speaking of Captain Canada, she put Team Harvey’s up 2-0 midway through the second frame, but Team Adidas wasn’t going to be left behind like that Kelly Gribbons and Potomak scored to bring everyone back to square one. After Captain Canada earlier, it was Captain America’s turn to score as Jill Saulnier set up Coyle-Schofield with a pass that she deflected perfectly to put Team Adidas ahead 3-2, a lead that would hold and be bonified when Potomak scored her second of the game in an empty net.

Tomorrow, the ladies will be back on the ice for another 2 games at 13:30 and 16:00. If you’re in Montreal and like to watch good hockey, head over to the Centre 21.02.
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