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 Professional Women's Hockey League

Professional Women's Hockey League Pregame Primer - Ottawa at Montréal

February 24, 2024 - Professional Women's Hockey League (PWHL) News Release


MONTREAL, QC - The Professional Women's Hockey League (PWHL) schedule continues this weekend with a Saturday afternoon game between Montréal and Ottawa, at 2:30 p.m. ET at Verdun Auditorium. Today's game will be a Black History Month celebration.

WHERE TO WATCH

Fans in Canada can watch the game live on Sportsnet ONE and streaming on Sportsnet+. In the United States, the game is available on Sportsnet Pittsburgh and streaming on the league's YouTube channel. Daniella Ponticelli has the play-by-play call alongside analyst Becky Kellar. French language coverage is on Radio-Canada and streaming on ICI TOU.TVwith studio host Alexandre Coupal, Jean St-Onge calling play-by-play, analyst Stéphanie Poirier, and Christine Roger reporting from rinkside.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH CELEBRATION

Today will be a celebration of Black History Month at Verdun Auditorium with a number of different activations throughout the game. Staff and players will be wearing PWHL Black History Month shirts designed by Black artist Dana Mclean. The Canadian anthem will be performed by Perpetual Praise, a Gospel Choir from Montréal, and the game's atmosphere will be electrified with music by DJ Vinny Bombay. During the second intermission, the team will feature an interview with Philippe Fehmiu, a famous Radio-Canada host about the importance of having a game dedicated to Black History. A local youth hockey team will watch warm-ups from the Montréal bench, and a group from Centre Lasallien - a socio-educational center dedicated to the integral development of vulnerable youth - will be in attendance. The team's social media platforms and videoboard will also feature Black women's hockey history facts and themed visuals.

SETTING THE STAGE

It's the third meeting of the season between teams on opposite ends of the standings but with a history of close competition. Montréal (4-3-3-2), who enters the action tied with Minnesota for first place with 21 points, takes on Ottawa (3-0-4-4), who sit in sixth place with 13 points. Both of their first two meetings required overtime where Montréal escaped with a 3-2 win in Ottawa on Jan. 2, and a 2-1 triumph on Jan. 27 at Place Bell. Since their last encounter, Montréal's month of February has consisted of six of 12 points, with a pair of wins by 2-1 scores including Feb. 4 in overtime against Boston, and Feb. 18 in regulation over Minnesota. They also lost 3-0 to Toronto on Feb. 16, and their second shootout loss of the season on Wednesday when they fell 3-2 to New York at UBS Arena. Ottawa has played five games in February where they've managed just four of a possible 15 points. They snapped a five-game losing streak in Boston on Monday afternoon with a 4-2 victory but dropped Wednesday's rematch 3-1. This is Montréal's sixth home game of the season and third at Verdun Auditorium where they are in search of their first win. They have won all three games played at Place Bell. Ottawa has won two of its five road games in their first half schedule. Keep an eye on first period scoring and shot totals. Both teams score their most goals in the opening frame, and Ottawa ranks first in shots on goal and allows the fewest on average. Montréal conversely ranks sixth in average shots on goal and allows the fifth most on average. Montréal leads the league with six wins in nine one-goal games, while Ottawa is winless in seven one-goal contests. The teams will meet two more times after today, including Mar. 10 back at Place Bell.

THE SEASON SERIES SO FAR

Montréal is tied for the league-lead with six overtime games and have played two of them against Ottawa. Ann-Sophie Bettez was the hero on Jan. 2 in the 3-2 victory at The Arena at TD Place, and Maureen Murphy scored the winner in the 2-1 win on Jan. 27 at Place Bell. Bettez assisted on Murphy's goal, and defender Kati Tabin picked up helpers on both OT goals. Laura Stacey scored in both games for Montréal, while both of Hayley Scamurra's goals this season for Ottawa have been scored on the powerplay against Montréal. Ottawa has outshot Montréal in both meetings, including a 44-24 count last game. Both games featured the same goaltending matchup of Ann-Renée Desbiens and Emerance Maschmeyer who will start again today. In two head-to-head games, Desbiens amassed a .958 save percentage which exceeds her season mark of .926, while Maschmeyer has posted a .895 SV% in two games which is lower than her season total of .913.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Montréal is led offensively by a trio of players with nine points each including captain Marie-Philip Poulin (6G 3A), Maureen Murphy (2G 7A), and Tereza Vanišová (1G 8A). Vanišová chipped in two helpers on Wednesday against New York to bring her total to eight which is tied for the league-lead. Poulin's six goals are tied for fourth with teammate Laura Stacey who scored her sixth on the powerplay Wednesday. Erin Ambrose (2G 4A) is tied for third in scoring among defenders, and fellow blue liner Madison Bizal is riding a two-game point streak. Ottawa's scoring leader is Emily Clark (2G 5A) with seven points, followed by three players with six points including Lexie Adzija (4G 2A), Gabbie Hughes (4G 2A), and defender Savannah Harmon (2G 4A). Hughes was instrumental in the team's Monday victory with her second multi-goal game of the season. Captain Brianne Jenner, who is tied for fifth in team scoring with five points, scored a goal and an assist in the win for her first multi-point game. Daryl Watts has a goal and an assist in her last two games, and defender Aneta Tejralová has four points in her last five.

BIG DEBUT FOR DEMERS

Ottawa forward Rosalie Demers has had a very exciting week. The 23-year-old signed a Standard Player Agreement after beginning the season as a Reserve Player, and now finds herself back home where she will make her PWHL debut. Demers grew up in Blainville, a suburb of Montréal, and learned how to play hockey in the Mistral des Laurentides organization. Her nickname "Rosie" was coined during her years with the Colgate University Raiders where she collected 23 points in 39 games during the 2021-22 NCAA season. She spent last season competing as a member of the PWHPA.

KEEPING AN EYE ON COLLEGE HOCKEY

The "second season" has arrived for three of the five conferences in NCAA Division I women's hockey. While one week of regular-season hockey remains in both Hockey East and the WCHA, conference tournaments are underway this weekend in the CHA, ECAC Hockey and NEWHA. A number of PWHL Montréal and Ottawa players are keeping an eye on their alma mater competing in today's ECAC Quarterfinals that consist of four single-elimination games between seeds five through 12. Lexie Adzija (OTT), Zoe Boyd (OTT), and Kati Tabin (MTL) will be cheering on their #5 ranked Quinnipiac Bobcats as they take on #12 Harvard where Jillian Dempsey (MTL), Kristin Della Rovere (OTT), Becca Gilmore (OTT), and Emerance Maschmeyer all graduated from the Crimson. Yale is ranked #6 and where Claire Dalton (MTL) was a member of the Bulldogs who take on #11 Union. Mariah Keopple (MTL) and Rachel McQuigge (OTT) both attended Princeton where the #7 ranked Tigers take on #10 ranked Dartmouth where Laura Stacey (MTL) played for the Big Green. The other matchup features #8 Brown against #9 RPI. In U SPORTS, Montréal's Brigitte Laganière will be watching her former Concordia Stingers taking on Ottawa, and Catherine Dubois' former University of Montréal are facing Bishop's in the RSEQ Semifinals. Sarah Bujold's former StFx is in the AUS Semifinals against St. Thomas, and Alexandra Poznikoff's Alberta Pandas are taking on Mount Royal in the Canada West Semifinals.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

"Every single game is tough. Ottawa has played us tough all season. They're a good team, they're physical, they're strong. They plus fast, so I think it's real important for us to have a good start, play an entire 60 minutes, and show this Verdun crowd what a good game of ours looks like." - Laura Stacey, Montréal

"Ottawa is a fast team. They play a really gritty type of game. We talked about it in practice. We will need to move the puck quickly." - Kori Cheverie, Montréal

"It's extremely important for us to close on a strong note. We've had quite a long stretch of being on the road, with games and all that. I think we've only kept building, learning, and growing. We had a big practice (on Friday) where we got to work on some things. Obviously, we have a game (on Saturday) that we are really excited for. Hopefully it will lead us in the right direction going into our next home game." - Zoe Boyd, Ottawa

"This league has been a great opportunity to learn volume and game management and all those details. I think that our group is getting more and more comfortable with the rhythm of the league. We're falling a little bit short in the results. Still really believe in our process and what we are doing. Obviously, to generate results we have to make subtle adjustments to make a couple little gains here and there. That will be our focus this weekend. We want to build off the last time we played Montréal and find those classic one percent better subtle adjustments that will help us find the back of the net with a little bit more consistency. Certainly, comfortable with what we are doing and where we are going." - Carla MacLeod, Ottawa

QUICK HITS

Montréal (even) is tied for third in goal differential and Ottawa (-1) is ranked fifth...Ottawa (2.27) ranks fourth in goals-per-game average and Montréal (2.17) is tied for fifth...Montréal (2.17) allows the second fewest goals-per-game on average and Ottawa (2.36) allows the second most...Both Montréal and Ottawa have scored the game's first goal seven times...The first period has been the highest scoring for both teams with Ottawa scoring 11 times and Montréal 10 times...Ottawa (+52) is first in shot differential and Montréal (-36) ranks fifth...Ottawa (31.0) is first in shots-per-game average and Montréal (26.92) ranks sixth...Ottawa (26.27) allows the fewest shots-per-game and Montréal (30.0) allows the second most...Montréal averages 7.17 penalty minutes per game which is second most in the league, Ottawa's average of 4.73 is fewest...Ottawa (8/32) is first in powerplay efficiency at 25%...Montréal (3/39) ranks fourth on the PP at 7.7%...Montréal (36/41) is fourth in penalty kill efficiency at 87.8%...Ottawa (20/24) ranks fifth at 83.3%...Montréal has been shorthanded the most this season, Ottawa the least...Tereza Vanišová (MTL) is tied for the league-lead with eight assists...Erin Ambrose (MTL) and Savannah Harmon (OTT) are tied for third in scoring among defenders with six points...Laura Stacey leads Montréal with 42 shots on goal...Hayley Scamurra leads Ottawa with 41 shots...Sarah Bujold (54/93) leads Montréal in face-off percentage at 58.1%...Marie-Philip Poulin (53.7%) leads the team with 270 draws...Brianne Jenner (74/135) leads Ottawa with a face-off percentage of 54.8%...Gabbie Hughes (43.8%) leads the team with 169 draws...Ann-Renée Desbiens (MTL) has three wins in eight starts with a goals-against-average of 2.06 and save percentage of .926...Emerance Maschmeyer (OTT) leads the league in minutes played with 644:49 and has three wins in 10 starts with a 2.23 GAA and .913 SV%...Bujold will celebrate her 28th birthday on Monday...Montréal is rolling out the same lineup as utilized in their Wednesday night shootout loss in New York.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

MONTREAL:

Stacey | Poulin | Dalton

Vanišová | O'Neill | Murphy

Lefort | Bujold | Bettez

Dubois | Dempsey | David

Keopple | Ambrose

Tabin | Daoust

Lum | Bizal

Laganière

Desbiens | Chuli

Scratches: Boissonnault, Lásková, Marchment

OTTAWA:

Clark | Hughes | Scamurra

Watts | Mrázová | Jenner

Adzija | Snodgrass | Shiga

Gasparics | Gilmore | Demers

Tejralová | Harmon

Boyd | Bell

Roese | Boulier

Buckles

Maschmeyer | Abstreiter

Scratches: Della Rovere, McQuigge

OFFICIALS:

Referees: Béatrice Fortin (Longueuil, QC) and Elizabeth Mantha (Longueuil, QC).

Linespersons: Anthony Lapointe (Lachine, QC) and Justine Todd (Kawartha Lakes, ON).

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