Murphy’s overtime winner propels PWHL leader Montreal past Ottawa in front of record crowd in Canada

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Ann-Renée Desbiens made 43 saves as Montreal retained first place with a 2-1 overtime victory over Ottawa in front of a record crowd on Saturday.

The 8,646 people in attendance at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, set a new mark for a professional women’s hockey game in Canada.

“It’s incredible,” said Montreal head coach Kori Cheverie of the atmosphere when playing at home. “I can’t believe how loud the crowd is, sometimes you can’t even talk to the players.

“We knew what Ottawa was going to bring in terms of grit, work ethic and intensity, but this is our home and we have the best fans in the world. It never disappoints.”

Forward Maureen Murphy scored the game-winner 3:30 into the overtime period in her first season in the Professional Women’s Hockey League. Laura Stacey also scored for Montreal (3-2-2-1).

WATCH l Murphy ends the game in overtime:

PWHL leader Montreal edges Ottawa with Murphy’s overtime winner

Maureen Murphy’s first PWHL goal lifts Montreal to a 2-1 overtime victory over Ottawa in front of a record crowd for a professional women’s hockey game in Canada with 8,646 spectators.

When asked how it felt to score for the first time in her professional career, Murphy chose to shift the focus to teammate Desbiens’ stellar performance.

“I think (Desbiens) really solidified the game for us,” Murphy said. “I mean, that goal is only achieved if she makes more than 40 unreal saves.”

Murphy, one of the best players in the NCAA, was among the last to sign a deal with Montreal, but she has been a rising star since her debut and is currently tied at four for the most points in the league.

On the first line, alongside Murphy and captain Marie-Philip Poulin was reserve player Catherine Dubois. While Tereza Vanišová remained unavailable due to injury, Dubois signed her second 10-day contract earlier today.

Dubois played a good game and integrated well with her linemates, despite two consecutive two-minute minors at the end of the first.

“She creates a lot of space for people and she’s eager to get the puck in the corner,” Cheverie said. “She’s ready to stand in front of the net for Poulin and Murphy’s shooters and we’re also trying to find some chemistry with all of our lines. It made sense for us as a team.”

One thing that stood out for both sides Saturday was the goaltending, with Desbiens staying true to his nickname of “the wall.”

Ottawa goalkeeper Emerance Maschmeyer made 22 saves – and saved a Stacey penalty shot – to limit Montreal to just one goal in regulation.

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CBC Sports surveyed PWHL players to find out who they think is the most underrated player ahead of the inaugural season.

Hayley Scamurra scored the only goal for Ottawa (2-0-3-1), which entered the rematch seeking revenge after Montreal’s 3-2 overtime victory in the two’s inaugural PWHL game teams at TD Place on January 2. .

Stacey opened the scoring with an assist assisted by defender Erin Ambrose at 13:37 of the first period.

Although the shots on goal were tight heading into the second period, it didn’t take long for Ottawa to take the lead. Despite a scoreless period, the visiting team’s offense had doubled the shots by the end of the second.

Cheverie says his team will have to work on fine-tuning the details of the stick to prevent this from happening.

“They’re No. 1. They stick on the puck, instead of containing,” she said. “We have great players who follow us, we have people who protect the slot. Often when things break down it is due to individual attention to detail and not necessarily the structure in place. Details of the stick are where a lot of the focus will be on this.”

Ottawa’s momentum continued into the third as Scamurra tied it at 6:10 on assists from Brianne Jenner and Savannah Harmon.

Murphy then buried his winner to secure Montreal’s position at the top of the standings.

Despite the loss, Ottawa head coach Carla MacLeod had only positive things to say about her team’s performance.

“I think we had a really good game this afternoon,” she said. “You’re always trying to grow and I think the areas that we talked about before the game and kind of worked on over the last couple of weeks showed today.”

All-Star at destination

Eight players who played Saturday will represent the league in the PWHL’s 3-on-3 showcase during NHL All-Star Weekend on Feb. 1 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

Desbiens and Poulin from Montreal join Harmon from Ottawa on the King team. Ambrose and Stacey from Montreal team up with Emily Clark, Jenner and Maschmeyer from Ottawa on Team Kloss.

Montreal visits Boston on February 4, while Ottawa hosts New York the same day.

The full schedule of PWHL games broadcast on CBC Sports this season is available here.

WATCH l PWHLers answer who the most underrated player in the league is:

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