It looked dicey for a little while, but PWHL Boston got their first win of the season this afternoon, winning 3-2 in overtime to spoil Montréal's home opener.
There isn’t much to talk about from the first period. It was a fast-paced period featuring few whistles, but both teams played good, entertaining hockey.
Boston got the first power play of the game 6:06 in, as Montreal’s Dominika Lásková was sent off for holding Jamie Lee Rattray, who nearly had a breakaway. However, Boston couldn’t get much going and only landed one shot on goal.
Boston quickly got another chance on the power play, as Lásková was sent to the box again at 11:50, this time for hooking. But, this power play looked worse than the first, and they didn’t even get a shot on goal. The best chance of the power play came at the other end, as Jillian Dempsey tried to play spoiler against the city she’d previously spent her entire career in, but Frankel was up to the task.
The ice was tilted more in Montréal’s favor all period, but Aerin Frankel made some phenomenal saves to keep the score 0-0 despite Boston being outshot 11-6.
Montréal came out flying in the second period. Frankel was called upon to make three grade-A saves right off the bat and it looked for a moment like Boston might escape the surge. However, Erin Ambrose managed to put one past her just 33 seconds into the period to give Montréal the 1-0 lead. Ann-Sophie Bettez and Maureen Murphy got the assists.
The goals did not stop there. 29 seconds later, Laura Stacey doubled the lead for Montréal as she potted her second of the season with the help of Tereza Vanišová and Kristin O’Neill. Montréal had all the momentum at this point, and things were looking grim for Boston despite so the game not even being half over.
At 3:20 of the period, things looked like they were about to get even worse for Boston, as Emily Brown was called for hooking, sending them to the penalty kill.
Instead, Boston came alive. Gigi Marvin sprung Taylor Girard shorthanded, and she jailbroke Brown at 4:15 of the period with the first shorthanded goal in PWHL Boston history.
Then, 91 seconds later, Hannah Brandt tied the game off a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play with Theresa Schafzahl and Jamie Lee Rattray.
The rest of the period was relatively quiet. Both teams got some great chances, and overall it was evenly played. Montréal got another crack at the power play 10:35 in, as Amanda Pelkey was called for slashing, but they were unable to convert. After trading more chances for the rest of the period, the teams headed back to the locker room tied 2-2, with Montréal holding a 21-16 shot advantage.
The third period almost started like the second, with Montréal nearly scoring another goal in the opening minute. The goal lights even started flashing, but somehow, the puck stayed out.
Despite the score staying tied, the first half of the period was all Montréal. The shots were 6-0 by the halfway mark, but it’s impressive it wasn’t worse considering how much zone time Montréal had. That being said, most of those shots were grade-A chances, and Frankel had to come up huge to keep the score even.
Boston finally landed their first shot on goal almost 13 minutes into the period, and they also got a power play for their troubles, as Catherine Daoust was called for hooking. But again, they couldn’t get much going on it, so the game remained tied.
Montréal then got another crack at the power play at 16:38 of the period, as Megan Keller was called for hooking. They got some excellent chances, but Frankel stood tall. She was the main reason this game headed to overtime, as Montréal was outshooting Boston 31-19.
Not even a minute into overtime, it looked like none other than Captain Clutch herself, Marie Philip Poulin, scored the game-winner. However, after video review, it was determined Laura Stacey interfered with Aerin Frankel, and the goal was wiped off the board.
This was a highly controversial decision, as Hilary Knight essentially forced Stacey’s body into the crease. However, it was primarily Stacey’s stick that interfered with Frankel, and Knight had little to nothing to do with her stick positioning, so it was the right call.
Luckily for Boston, they took this second chance and ran with it. 2:17 into overtime, Pelkey sent home a Marvin pass to give Boston their first win of the season, spoiling Montréal’s home opener.
Overall, this was a highly entertaining game between two closely matched teams. You can already see a rivalry budding, and the rest of the season series is sure to be fun to watch. These two teams meet again in just over two weeks, as Montréal travels to Boston on Sunday, February 4th. In the meantime, Boston will be back in action Wednesday night when they travel to Toronto.