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  • Writer's pictureMichaela Alfano

Home Opener Take Two: PWHL New York Falls to PWHL Montreal

The only thing better than one home opener is two. The PWHL New York opened its season in Toronto before heading home to Total Mortgage Arena. But, one home just wasn’t enough. 


"I think it's unique, but I think we know year one of the season everything is going to be unique," said PWHL New York's Jessie Eldridge on playing in two home arenas. "We're gonna run with what we're given, and this resource is incredible."

The team hosted PWHL Montreal at their second home, UBS Arena on January 10, 2024, in a high-scoring match. It wouldn’t be a home opener without a ceremonial puck drop. New York Islander legend, Bryan Trottier, took to center ice with both team captains to honor the major moment of professional women’s hockey at UBS. As soon as the puck dropped the crowd of 2201 immediately started to cheer “Let's go New York”, sounding much louder than the number reflected. 


PERIOD 1

New York won the puck off the face-off and quickly took down the ice, trying to get on the board quickly. They dominated most of the opening five minutes, registering a few shots, including a close one that was diverted by Montreal goaltender Elaine Chuli. 


It didn’t take much longer after that for New York to get their shot and ultimately goal. “New York Groove” rang out as Jessie Eldridge scored her first goal for PWHL New York, at 6:09, assisted by Alex Carpenter and Ella Shelton.





Montreal quickly retaliated with a goal of their own at 8:15 from none other than their captain Marie-Phillip Poulin. After the puck went wide, Montreal was able to collect it back and Poulin sent it right between the legs of Corinne Schroder to even the score.




New York and Montreal traded shots back and forth with Catherine Doust getting one for Montreal while Jamie Bourbonnais got one off for New York. In between shots, the first power play of the game came for Montreal after a penalty was given to Taylor Baker for interference. With 18 seconds left in the power play, another penalty was called against New York’s Jill Saulnier, sending Montreal five-on-three for the remaining seconds. Time dwindled while Schroder saved the shots that were sent her way for a successful penalty kill.


As the first period came to a close both teams traded shots, rebounds, and close calls but no one was able to find the back of the net. Instead, the teams headed into the locker room tied up at one apiece with plenty of game left. 


PERIOD TWO

The second twenty of play got off to a slower start but each team had some early shots. New York got the first advantage, going on the power play after a penalty was called against Montreal for hooking. The puck stayed in front of Montreal's goal, with New York controlling most of the movement as the penalty went on but were unable to score. The closest shot came from Ella Shelton who sent the puck right off the crossbar of the goal. 


New York, who trailed 16-10 in shots to start the period, quickly caught up, out-shooting Montreal 6-1 in the first ten minutes. Even with New York dominating, Montreal was granted a power play after a penalty was called against Emma Woods for delay of game. Some pressure from Montreal in front of the New York net was able to push the puck past Schroder. Catherine Daoust scored her first for Montreal and their second of the game, poking it right into the back of the net.




Moments later, another major moment came for Montreal as Schroder came out of the goal, leaving it open for a Montreal pass but the puck just missed giving New York a moment to recover. Off the timeout, New York had a quick breakaway off the face-off, nearly getting around Chuli three times before Montreal was able to get the rebound. 


Although New York started strong, their dominance dwindled as the period went on, struggling to contain the puck. A lot of their passes were intercepted or easily slipped away, making it hard for them to get shots on goal. However, another powerplay gave them the chance to get one back and even the score as a penalty was called against Montreal for interference. 


Abby Roque got her chance at a slapshot which missed but New York collected the rebound. Another shot came moments later as chaos ensued in front of the Montreal net but once again it slipped away. Sarah Bujold almost doubled Montreal's lead with a wrap-around short-handed goal, which had it gone in would have ended their penalty, but Schroder batted it away. 


A last-minute shot came for New York but it was taken just a smidge early. However, with 44.2 seconds to go a penalty was called against Montreal for slashing to give New York a final chance in the waning seconds. The final shot of the period came from Roque, taking the shot right at the final buzzer but it slipped just behind the net. Montreal headed into the locker room with a 2-1 advantage and some breathing room for the third. 


PERIOD THREE 

That breathing room did not last long as Ella Shelton scored the equalizing goal for New York just 27 seconds into the final period of play. Right off the face off Roque won the puck, streaking down the ice and passing it to Shelton to score early into the period.




It started to look like Montreal was running away with the game as they got off a few more shots in the following minutes. New York retaliated with their own scoring attempts but lacked the final moment to connect to the back of the net. 


Montreal didn’t let up, scoring two goals in two minutes to double their lead. Kennedy Marchment got the first at 4:58 and at 6:05 Poulin scored her second of the game to increase their lead to 4-2. 





A fourth power play gave the home side yet another chance to close the gap between the scoring. Roque made another attempt, shooting it at the Montreal goal but was blocked from hitting the back of the net. Right after her attempt, a penalty was called against her for tripping, sending the game four-on-four for fifty seconds as Maureen Murphy finished her penalty for Montreal. 


Almost immediately after her penalty was released, Murphy had a shot on goal that was just high but Montreal held the advantage in the match, as they controlled the puck. Montreal almost scored just moments later but Schroder easily caught the puck in her gloves. 


A high shot for New York rebounded off the glass right in front of the goal but Montreal players surrounded, not allowing the home side a chance to tap it in. 


With two minutes to go, New York took off Schroder, to go up an extra attacker in hopes of evening the score. Even with another attacker on their side, New York lacked the final finish pass in front of the net to score. They were unable to control the puck, leading to Montreal scoring a fifth goal from center ice on the empty net. The goal came from none other than Poulin, who completed her hat trick for the night. 


"Really it was a great win, it felt good to come here," said Poulin when asked about her hat trick. "Obviously, New York has a great team but we wanted to stick to our way, which we did."


As the seconds dwindled, New York fought back but were unable to register much and Montreal was able to skate off the winners of this match. 


New York returns to the ice, taking to the road against Minnesota on Sunday, January 14, at 4 p.m. EST. Montreal will head home to host Boston on Saturday, January 13 for a 3:30 p.m. EST puck drop. 


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