Comeback Denied: Ottawa 4, Montreal 2
- 3 min read

Comeback Denied: Ottawa 4, Montreal 2

Comeback Denied: Ottawa 4, Montreal 2 by Melissa Burgess

PWHL Montreal's attempt at a third-period comeback was squashed as PWHL Ottawa came out on top 4-2 in front of a sold-out crowd at Place Bell on Sunday evening. Aneta Tejralová's third-period goal stood as the game-winner.

What happened?

Ottawa's Brianne Jenner opened the scoring late in the first period, notching a power-play goal with just 37 seconds left in the frame. Ottawa did a good job of moving the puck, and Kateřina Mrázová sent a great feed to Jenner down low, who tipped it in for the lead.

Mrázová, ever the playmaker, also had a beautiful setup on Ottawa's second goal, which came with less than seven minutes to play in the second period. Mrázová's drop pass found Daryl Watts, who made it look easy as she picked her spot and rang the puck off the post and in.

Despite being down by a pair of goals, Montreal dominated the early part of the third period with chances. Just as Ottawa began to feel the vibe, their celebration was stunted by Laura Stacey's goal with 8:50 to play in regulation. After a questionable penalty call on Gabbie Hughes, Montreal needed just over a minute to get on the board, with Stacey firing in a one-timer from the point.

Tejralová's game-winning goal came with 6:36 to play, as she beat a screened Ann-Renée Desbiens. Desbiens had a crowd in front of her, with Lexie Adzija forming a key piece of the screen, and didn't have a chance on the shot.

Mélodie Daoust kept things interesting, making it a one-goal game with 2:58 left in regulation. Daoust and her teammates worked hard on the play, with Daoust backhanding the puck in amid a crowd. It wasn't enough to finalize the comeback, though, and Gabbie Hughes added an empty-net goal in the final two minutes to seal the win.

Prior to the game, Ottawa announced the signing of forward Samantha Isbell to a standard player agreement. Isbell was a former reserve player for Boston; her signing corresponds with the movement of Fanni Garát-Gasparics to long-term injured reserve. Isbell did not play on Sunday. Montreal has also signed forward Mikyla Grant-Mentis to a reserve player contract.

Three up, three down

↑ Mrázová, Jenner, Watts on a line – This line has really been working well together for Ottawa lately, including in Sunday's game. Mrázová had three assists; Jenner had a goal and an assist, and Watts had a goal. The line also combined for 11 shots on goal.

↓ No MPP – Montreal was without captain Marie-Philip Poulin on Sunday. She appeared to be injured late in Friday's game. She is, of course, Montreal's leading scorer, with 17 points (8G, 9A) in 16 games. We'll have to see what her status is over the course of the week; Montreal's next game is against Toronto on Sunday, March 17 in Pittsburgh.

↑ Great attendance – It was another great crowd at Place Bell, with 10,172 in attendance. That's another sellout for PWHL Montreal!

↓ Plenty of penalties – Each team had five power play opportunities in Sunday's game. Ottawa scored twice, while Montreal had one power play tally. Ottawa's power play is the best in the PWHL (27.7%), while Montreal's is firing at 8.6 percent.

↑ O'Neill on draws – Montreal's Kristen O'Neill took 31 faceoffs on Sunday. That's 31 of a total 61 faceoffs in the game, which is quite a lot for a single player – but O'Neill stepped up nicely to fill in the gap left by Poulin's absence. Poulin has taken 39.6 percent of Montreal's faceoffs this season and is 57.3 percent in the circle; O'Neill has taken 29 percent of the faceoffs this season and is 51.7 percent.

 Buckles – Defender Emma Buckles has dressed in seven games with Ottawa, but right now she's essentially skating as an extra player and only occasionally actually playing. She saw zero (!) ice time in two of her seven games, and under two minutes in an additional two games. Ottawa's defensive usage will be something to watch as the season progresses.

VP's Player of the Game

Aneta Tejralová - Tejralová's second goal of the season would become the game-winning tally for Ottawa. She also recorded an assist on Brianne Jenner's opening goal and has seven points in 15 games this season from the blueline. Tejralová is tied for fifth among PWHL defenders in scoring.

(Photo: Arianne Bergeron/PWHL)