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Kristen O’Neil late winner sends Montreal past Minnesota


On Thursday night in Verdun Montreal snapped a four-game losing streak against Minnesota pulling off a late comeback to secure the win.

After a three-week hiatus and coming off four games without a win Montreal was finally able to snap the streak as they battled back late to beat Minnesota 4-3 thanks to Kristen O’Neil, Marie Philip Poulin, and Laura Stacey who all scored in the win while Elaine Chuli made 25 saves.

“Quel match,” Montreal head coach Kori Cheverie told the media post-game. “The passing seemed very crisp today and the puck was going into the right place.”

Montreal opened the scoring eight minutes into the game with Minnesota killing a penalty for delay of game when Kristen O’Neil from the side of the net was able to jam a puck past Maddie Rooney.

“We need that win,” Cheverie said. “To me, it didn’t feel like four losses in a row because to me it felt like every game we should have been right there so to me it hasn’t felt like this big slump and they gave us a boost of confidence and it’s so hard to win three points in this league and we will continue to roll on that momentum.”

With 3:41 left in the first period Minnesota was penalized again as Michela Cava was called for slashing and a minute later Poulin one-timed a perfect feed from Erin Ambrose who finished the night with four assists to make it 2-0 for the home team.

“I think we do our best to find the best gameplan for every opponent and we prepare the same for every team with tweaks for every team and our group is pretty strong right now.”

In the second period, Mikayla Grant Mentis who recently signed a standard player contract after being on a 10-day contract took back-to-back penalties and the visitors got within one five minutes into the period when Grace Zumwinkle blasted a bullet from the point.

“I think for us it feels like a whole new season has started with the way things are going with the five games left and potentially going into the playoffs so we are treating it as a new season and there is a job to be done.”

Halfway through the second period Minnesota tied the game when Kelly Panek was able to tip a puck off a shot from Sophie Jaques that fooled Chuli.

“We are not satisfied yet,” Poulin said in French after the game. “We are really happy with the win but we want to get better every game.”

A minute after tying the game Brooke Bryant scored her first PWHL goal after receiving a cross-ice pass and was able to beat Chuli to give Minnestoa the 3-2 lead.

“We waited for a long time to have this league and play for a championship,” Poulin mentioned. “We honestly love this and we don’t want to say we are tired but mentally and physically we were ready but we are super happy with the win.”

The majority of the third period was back and forth and with 2:23 remaining in regulation Montreal finally tied the game as Laura Stacey one-timed a puck from Ambrose and the roof came off the Verdun Auditorium.

“As we all know Erin is an amazing hockey player,” Poulin answered when asked about her teammate. “She’s tremendous and you saw today what she can bring and the way she sees the ice there are not that many players that can do that and she has amazing passes and that Stacey one-timer isn’t going in without that pass.”

With 1:41 in regulation, Minnesota was called for another penalty as Maggie Flaherty was called for holding, and a minute later O’Neil scored her second of the night beating Rooney with a powerful shot from in close to seal a last-minute victory for the home team and send the fans home happy.

“I made a point to bring more confidence back to Montreal,” O’Neil said after the game. “Playing with Poulin and Stacey we had a lot of fun out there and that is what it comes down to and we were losing at the end and it felt like we flipped a switch and we were really determined to win that game and we really won as a team today.”

I asked O’Neil what it was like to score the game-winning goal with 45 seconds left on the clock and she was completely elated with the reaction of the fans. ” The energy and the atmosphere was amazing,” she told me. “I think it’s great that we have all this support and we gained so much momentum from the crowd and we used that energy to help us succeed.”

Featured Image ©️ Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL)

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In this article: #Hockey, #ProfessionalWomensHockey, #ProHockey, #PWHL, #WomenInSport, #Womenshockey, Brooke Bryant, Elaine Chuli, Erin Ambrose, Grace Zumwinkle, grow the game, Kelly Panek, Kori Cheverie, Kristen O'Neil, Laura Stacey, Maddie Rooney, Marie Phillipe Poulin, Micheala Cava, PWHL Minnesota, PWHL Montreal, Sophie Jaques, Verdun Auditorium

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