Canadiennes win home-opener in a tight game

Les Canadiennes de Montréal won their home-opener on Saturday against the Toronto Furies. Archived photo by Yacine Bouhali.

A low scoring affair eventually led to a Montreal win over Toronto

Les Canadiennes de Montréal of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL), defeated the Toronto Furies in a tight game by a score of 2-1 in their home-opener on Oct. 22 at the Étienne Desmarteau arena.

The opening minutes were sloppy, as both teams fumbled the puck and missed their passes. Les Canadiennes were especially shaky as turnovers and mistakes led to some early penalties. However, the Furies were unable to score on their early power play opportunities.

It was in the 16th minute, after a Furies power play had expired, that the Furies were finally able to score and take a 1-0 lead going to the second period.

“I don’t think we were at our best in the first and we had to re-adjust,” said Canadiennes goalie Charline Labonté. “It’s exciting playing at our home-opener and maybe the nerves got in the way.”

After that first goal, Montreal did a much better job of putting pressure on the Furies defence, playing far more minutes in the opposing zone than their own. Yet, their constant pressure generated no results.

The second period started off much stronger than the first for Les Canadiennes. It seemed as though the home-opener jitters were finally shaken off, because Les Canadiennes wasted no time scoring. The goal came from newly appointed captain Marie-Philip Poulin who batted the puck out of midair and into the net to the tie the game at 1-1.

“I closed my eyes and I hoped that I’d touch it,” Poulin said.

With Poulin’s goal, Les Canadiennes built up momentum and started to dominate the game. Montreal continued throwing pucks at the net and cycled the puck, creating pressure in the Toronto zone. The Furies were unable to generate any sustained offense for most of the period.

The energetic crowd helped motivate the home team during the second period. Canadiennes fans cheered loudly after every single shot on net, and the team gained momentum because of it.

“I think we feed off the energy. At the beginning they were a bit quiet,” Poulin said, “They got more energetic as the game went on.”

The third period started off much like the second ended, with Montreal being in control of the game. Toronto tried to counter, but their attempts were thwarted by Labonté, who kept the score tied at 1-1.

It wasn’t until the very end, with five minutes left in the game, that none other than Poulin scored on a breakaway to give her team a 2-1 lead and the win.

The win gives Les Canadiennes an undefeated record of 3-0 on the season. They will face the Furies again on Sunday, Oct. 23 at 1:30 p.m. in another match at Étienne Desmarteau arena.

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