A remarkable milestone has occurred to launch the New Year in CWHL circles. For the fans on-hand at Arena St. Louis on January 11, it was the opportunity to witness a significant milestone. Montreal Stars founder and CWHL co-founder Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux logged the 100th point in her distinguished career with the Montreal Stars.
As one of only two co-founders still competing in the CWHL (the other is Sami Jo Small of the Toronto Furies), every time Breton-Lebreux graces the ice, it is an opportunity to watch history. Her impact on the game historically is without dispute. Not only is she the first CWHL player to captain her team to three Clarkson Cup championships, she is also the first player in Canadian women’s hockey history to lead a team to both the Clarkson and a CIS national title.
In addition, her six straight years as Montreal Stars captain set a league record for longest tenured captain. This season, she would certainly create good karma by christening Cathy Chartrand as the new Stars captain. One of the most unselfish acts possible, it is testament to the class that she brings to the league.
Having passed the torch to Chartrand, she is placing the franchise’s future in capable hands. As Chartrand served as captain for the McGill Martlets, she is also the proud recipient of multiple CIS national titles.
Chartrand’s leadership has certainly paid dividends this season. With the Stars having started 2014 firmly entrenched in first place, their January 11th victory over the beleaguered Brampton Thunder helped to make more distance between them and the rest of the league.
The first period resulted in the Stars outshooting Brampton by an astounding 14-2 mark. Despite peppering Brampton’s Sonja van der Bliek, she managed to allow just one goal. Emmanuelle Blais would score at 7:51 as Ann-Sophie Bettez logged an assist. Of note, Bettez has logged at least one point in every Stars game this season.
Only 56 seconds into the second stanza, Bettez would continue her hot streak as she extended the Stars lead to a two goal advantage. Blais and Vanessa (Vinny) Davidson logged the helpers. Despite the fact that Montreal would enjoy three power play advantages in the second half of the period, fans would have to wait a little longer for Breton-Lebreux to achieve her milestone.
Entering the third period, the wait would come to an end rather quickly. Only 39 seconds into the period, Breton-Lebreux would score on van der Bliek to an astounding roar of approval from the fans. With the goal having been scored on the power play (Brampton’s Lindsey Vine was serving a holding call), it only enriched the feat.
Despite the jubilation, Brampton was looking to spoil the party as they replied only 10 seconds later with a goal. Sarah Moe, one of the few mothers that compete in the CWHL logged the third goal of her season as she foiled Catherine Herron’s attempt at a shutout. Blais would reply for Montreal as she logged the Stars second power play tally of the third. Fittingly, one of the assists was credited to Cathy Chartrand, the current Stars captain.
Having reached the magical century mark is more than just an individual milestone for Breton-Lebreux. A veteran of the Montreal Axion (pronounced Action) in the former National Women’s Hockey League, there was a point where the future of female pro hockey seemed doomed. Along with the efforts of Jennifer Botterill, Mandy Cronin, Allyson Fox, Kathleen Kauth, Kim McCullough and Sami Jo Small, it provided a glimmer of hope that women would still have a place to play. In some ways, this is what Breton-Lebreux’s 100th point symbolizes. Her efforts have proven that women’s hockey is here to stay and her point sends a powerful message that the best is yet to come.
Image obtained from Facebook