After a hard fought game, Boston managed to earn a point in their 2-1 overtime loss to league-leading Montréal on Sunday.
This game also marked Boston hockey legend Jillian Dempsey’s first homecoming game since she was taken by Montréal in the PWHL draft. Numerous fans, including many of her former teaching colleagues and a few of her former students, showed up with signs for her and in their old Dempsey jerseys.
After the game, Dempsey spoke to the media about what that meant to her: “It definitely brought a smile to my face, got me a little choked up, but it was really special to see those and I appreciate all the fans who showed out and nice to see them rocking some old vintage jerseys now. But yeah, it really made me happy to see all of that.”
Boston had another strong start to the period and looked like they had more jump than Montréal in the first half. However, Montréal started to pick it up in the second half, particularly after they got the first power play of the night when Hannah Brandt got called for hooking at 9:27 of the period.
Going into the game, Montréal sat dead last in the league in power play percentage at just 4%. However, their power play looked lively in this one, and they got several shots off, but Aerin Frankel was up to the task for Boston.
Montréal kept some of that momentum going in the second half of the period. Boston got a little sloppy defensively at times, but they continued to do a reasonable job of limiting the grade-A chances.
However, at 15:59 of the period, Marie-Philip Poulin wired a pass to Erin Ambrose in front of the net, and she broke the ice to give Montréal a 1-0 lead. Maureen Murphy also got an assist on goal.
The first period ended with Boston trailing 1-0, and they were outshot 9-8.
Boston continued their streak of on-time starts to the period in the second, and the teams traded chances for a few minutes.
Finally, shortly after Boston got numerous great chances during extended zone time, they got their first power play of the night at 5:39 of the period, as Jillian Dempsey got called for slashing in her first homecoming game. Boston got some good looks on the power play, but Elaine Chuli continued her stellar play in net for Montréal to keep them ahead.
Later, about halfway through the period, Montréal got one of their best chances of the night. Aerin Frankel went to play the puck behind her net but got caught between two skaters, delaying her getting back to her crease, and Montréal was nearly able to extend their lead, but Frankel was able to get back just in time to make another great save.
Boston headed back to the box at 11:53 of the second, as Jessica Digirolamo was called for roughing during a small scrum in front of Frankel. Montréal’s power play continued to look better than it had been, but they couldn’t get as much going this time around, so Boston had an easier kill.
Just 31 seconds after returning to even strength, Boston got their second power play of the game, as Madison Bizal tripped Alina Müller as she crashed the net. However, Boston’s power play looked ugly, and Montréal even had them hemmed in their own zone for a little bit, so they remained trailing 1-0.
The second period ended with Boston still trailing 1-0, but shots were even at 16 a piece.
Boston looked hungry to start the third period. However, Montréal did get one great chance early on, but Frankel came up big to keep the deficit at one.
Other than that chance by Montréal, Boston was in control for the first few minutes, and they were putting on heavy pressure in the Montréal zone. That paid off for them just 4:12 in, as Sophie Shirley got her first of the season to tie the game at one. Hannah Brandt got the lone assist on the goal, which was her first of the season as well.
“I think it’s super cool,” said Shirley in the post-game scrum. “Definitely one that I'm gonna remember for a long time but…it kind of sucks that we weren’t able to come out with a win there but definitely one I’m going to remember.”
Not even a minute later, Boston nearly took the lead, as the puck popped out all alone right in the middle of Chuli’s crease. However, she was able to get over just in time to make the save, and the game remained tied.
The teams traded chances pretty evenly for the rest of the period and the teams headed back to the locker room tied at one. Montréal led 27-24 in shots as they headed to extra hockey.
In overtime, both teams got some great looks, but it was Montréal who would walk out with an extra point. Laura Stacey put one past Frankel 2:36 into the extra frame, with Ambrose and Poulin getting the assists. The final shots were 30-27 Montréal.
Overall, this game was exactly as advertised. It was fast and evenly matched, just like the first one. However, Boston’s offense was once again came up short. They got numerous chances throughout the game, but they couldn’t find a way to put more than one past Chuli, and that’s not a recipe for success.
After the game, head coach Courtney Kessel shared her thoughts on the game with the media.
“I think we're disappointed but it was a great game like both sides, both teams I thought played some great hockey,” said Kessel. “[I’d] love to see us create more offensive chances. We just gotta find the back of the net. I thought we really took the game in the third so I think disappointed, but we're building, and we’re pulling in the right way.”