At the Wall: Montreal 2, Ottawa 0
- 4 min read

At the Wall: Montreal 2, Ottawa 0

At the Wall: Montreal 2, Ottawa 0 by Zoë Hayden

Ottawa's final home game of the season featured exciting back-and-forth action, but Montreal skated away with the upper hand and shut out the home team. With this, and Boston's regulation win over Minnesota later in the day, the playoff picture remains tantalizingly undecided.

What happened?

The first period was scoreless, but not for lack of trying. Both sides traded power play opportunities and high-danger chances, but neither side could solve the opposition's goaltender as Emerance Maschmeyer and Ann-Renée Desbiens made stunning saves in the first 20 minutes. Desbiens stopped Brianne Jenner, Daryl Watts, and Natalie Snodgrass point-blank on one power play chance. Not to be outdone, Maschmeyer took just enough of an angle away on Kristin O'Neill that she hit the outside of the post on the doorstep, and she stopped Laura Stacey on a semi-breakaway, plus a couple of rockets from the left circle by Maureen Murphy. A lot of shots were blocked as well, but the ones that did get through were very nearly in.

A lull early in the second saw the puck pop free to Laura Stacey on a missed clearing attempt by Aneta Tejralová. Stacey shot the puck quickly and Maschmeyer didn't find it, and it was 1-0 Montreal.

Montreal tried to add to their lead throughout the second and mostly dominated play, but Maschmeyer and Ottawa weathered the storm and it stayed close.

Ottawa came out pressuring in the third but had difficulty getting shots through as Montreal clogged up the middle of the ice. Ottawa's best chance thus far came after a 2-on-1 was broken up in front of Maschmeyer with Marie-Philip Poulin driving the net. Instead it went the other way with Emily Clark and Hayley Scamurra pressuring right to the paint, but Desbiens held the line.

Ottawa got a power play with 9:41 to go with Poulin in the box for a trip, but Montreal played an aggressive penalty kill. While Ottawa had looks, they didn't really get much through to Desbiens. But they were holding possession and putting the pressure on in front of the net. With Desbiens out of position, the puck finally popped free for a rebound that she couldn't control, and Savannah Harmon got a stick on it to poke it into an empty net.

The goal was reviewed for possible interference by Becca Gilmore who skated by Desbiens with her foot in the paint and kind of stepped over her. The Ottawa crowd started screaming "GOAL" en masse and doing the referee gesture for good goal. After a brief review, the call on the ice was overturned due to goaltender interference – so Ottawa had just under six minutes to try to tie the game. And they continued to force, not missing a beat, but they were unable to get a finishing touch on anything. Tereza Vanišová drove the net and flipped it cross-crease where it lingered in open space with the net wide open, but no one was home to finish the play.

With under 2 minutes to go, Montreal made it 2-0 with Maureen Murphy shooting through traffic after a bit of scramble high in the zone as Ottawa tried to break out again. While Ottawa kept pushing, they couldn't break Desbiens' shutout and the buzzer sounded with them trying to come up through the neutral zone again.

The result gave Montreal a big three points in the standings and left Ottawa's future uncertain.

Three up, three down

↑ TD Place – Ottawa's final home game of the regular season was a packed house (8,452, their highest attendance of the season) and a great atmosphere. If there are to be playoff games here, it's going to be a great time in Ottawa. The PWHL Ottawa logo replaced the Ottawa 67s logo at center ice ahead of this game, anticipating the possibility of more home games to come, and following the 67s' elimination in the OHL playoffs at the hands of the Oshawa Generals on April 18.

↓ Brianne Jenner's goal streak – Snapped at 4 games with 6 goals in that span, but none today with her team being shut out. She led the game in shots with 6.

↑ Desbiens, and possibly witchcraft – I honestly have no idea how Ottawa didn't put one in the net legally but that's the ARD effect sometimes. No gods, no masters, just Ann-Renée. It's also her first shutout of the season and in her PWHL career.

↓ Doing it on your own – With Ottawa's 2-0 regulation loss, they could have still clinched a playoff berth today with a regulation loss by Boston – but they didn't get it. Instead, Boston won in regulation, and they are tied with Ottawa at 32 points in the standings. Ottawa has 2 games remaining, while Boston just has one.

↑ Montreal, sitting on top – Again, with the Minnesota/Boston result today, Montreal has clinched home ice for the first round of the playoffs and can finish no lower than #2. They own the tiebreaker with Minnesota, who cannot overtake them. They also sit in sole possession of the #1 spot in the standings for the moment – though they only have one game remaining, and Toronto will still have three opportunities to accumulate points and take the top spot back. The team finishing #1 overall will have the chance to pick their first-round opponent between the #3 and #4 seeds.

↓ Little mistakes for Ottawa – The game-winner for Montreal came off of a, let's say, undesirable turnover by Tejralová, and Ottawa's tying goal was overturned on a call against Gilmore that had to be hard to swallow. While Gilmore didn't seem to actually prevent Desbiens from making a save, she did make contact with her in the blue paint and that is enough to get a goal overturned, no matter how pivotal it is. Desbiens encouraged her coaches to challenge the goal call, which initiated a formal review process. It's an Ottawa season that has had so many games that could be called heartbreakers, and this one is another one to add to the bill. If Ottawa makes the playoffs, their success will depend on them tightening up these kinds of mistakes taking the opportunity to re-set.

VP's Player of the Game

Maureen Murphy – Murphy was hunting around the net all night and scored the dagger that ended Ottawa's hopes of a comeback. When Murphy gets a good look, she almost never misses.

  • Game replay link (YouTube) – The PWHL has started posting "condensed game archive" video, after taking their videos private after broadcast as of late. Check their video uploads page for the game archive content as it becomes available. (This game is not yet as of press time.)
  • Game data

(Photo: Andrea Cardin/Freestyle Photography/PWHL)