Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Ann-Renée Desbiens posts her 1st PWHL shutout to lift Montreal into 1st place | CBC Sports

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Ann-Renee Desbiens posted the first shutout of her Professional Women’s Hockey League career in Montreal’s 2-0 win over host Ottawa on Saturday.

Desbiens, who backstopped Canada to a gold medal in the world championship final earlier this month, stopped all 28 shots she faced.

“It’s not so much the shutout as much as the win,” said Desbiens. “If it helped us win, I’ll take it.”

Laura Stacey and Maureen Murphy scored for Montreal (10-3-5-5), which already had a playoff spot secured in the PWHL’s inaugural season.

Montreal’s goal now with a game remaining in the regular season is to remain atop the regular-season standings and have home-ice advantage in the post-season.

WATCH | Playoff-bound Montreal blanks Ottawa before crowd of 8,452 at TD Place:

PWHL Montreal shuts out Ottawa, and potentially, its playoff hopes

Ann-Renée Desbiens makes 31 saves for her first career PWHL shutout. A regulation win would have clinched Ottawa the final playoff spot.

Ottawa’s Emerance Maschmeyer, the No. 2 goalie on the Canadian team, turned away 21 shots.

A playoff spot remained in Ottawa’s (8-1-6-6) reach with two games remaining in its regular season. The top four teams among six make the PWHL playoffs.

Ottawa was tied for fourth with Boston, a 2-1 winner over No. 3. Minnesota on Saturday, but Ottawa has a game in hand on Boston.

Ottawa’s loss to Montreal in front of an announced 8,452 at TD Place in its final home game of the regular season snapped a four-game win streak for the host club.

Trailing 1-0, Ottawa came out flying in the third looking for the equalizer. They outshot Montreal 9-1 by the halfway mark of the period, but were unable to beat Desbiens.

Hayley Scamurra had two great chances in front and couldn’t beat a sprawled Desbiens.

“She’s a world class goalie and she kept her team in it today, particularly in the third,” Ottawa’s coach Carla MacLeod said. “We had our chances though and today the puck didn’t go in, but that’s part of our world and sometimes that happens in a game.”

Harmon’s goal waived off for Ottawa

Ottawa’s Savannah Harmon appeared to tie the game with 5:58 remaining, but the goal was waived off upon review for goalie interference.

Desbiens felt she’d been bumped on the play. She asked Montreal head coach Korie Cheverie to call for a review.

“It was a bit of a mutual decision,” Desbiens said. “I looked at the play on the video screen and so did she and I think she was a little uncertain, but I was the one in the net. For me, it was evident.

“They’re always calls that you never know which way they’re going to go but today it made the difference in the game.”

Montreal led 2-0 when Melodie Daoust fed Murphy in the slot with 1:48 remaining in the game.

Ottawa had solid first and third periods, but leaned on Maschmeyer in the second when they were outshot 10-2 and gave up the first goal of the game.

“The second period was pretty rough,” admitted Ottawa’s Daryl Watts. “We all know where we struggled and what we need to do better and how we need to play moving forward in the second to not lose all momentum.”

Montreal took a 1-0 lead off a turnover by Aneta Teiralova that led to Stacey stepping in for a one-timer from the slot at 3:13 of the second for her 10th goal of the season.

“We knew they were going to come hard at us. It was a big third period,” said Stacey. “They were putting everything to the net so we were weathering, but we stuck with it.

“We had a really great call on the goaltender interference and our team rallied around that.”

Montreal was unable to capitalize on three power-play chances in the first period, due in great part Maschmeyer’s efforts.

Ottawa also had a couple of chances on a power play, but Desbiens made great saves from close range.

The game was the first between the two teams since Ottawa acquired Czech forward Tereza Vanisova from Montreal in exchange for Amanda Boulier.

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