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LPHF Series: Boston snatches first duel from Montreal, 2 to 1 in overtime at Place Belle

LPHF Series: Boston snatches first duel from Montreal, 2 to 1 in overtime at Place Belle

LAVAL — They were victims of their passivity to close out the regular season. They had promised to impose their conditions for starting the series. They kept their promise.

This was not enough.

Over two imperial periods, the Montrealers succumbed to the revival of their Boston rivals and cruelly fell short of their goal of advancing to the LPHF playoffs. Susana Tabani's goal at 14:25 of extra time broke the hearts of the local favorites, who surrendered 2-1 on Thursday night at Place Belle.

Boston had just stifled, in high tension, Montreal's power play when Thabani pushed the puck into an open cage and could not find a footing in the chaos that prevailed in Anne-Renée Debien's semicircle.

The defeat was extremely painful, as it would not have been possible without the extraordinary contribution of goalkeeper Ehren Frankel, who made 53 saves. The American international blocked all 39 shots directed at her after Christine O'Neill beat her at the start of the second half. She was especially credited with only 11 saves in overtime.

Frankel was amazing. Her acrobatic saves at the expense of Laura Stacey, who also missed the target on a breakaway in overtime, will especially torment Montreal. She was lucky, too, as her postings here and there saved her by some useful diversion.

“The jumps were favorable for us,” Frankel said. Someone told me the disc got into my pants once, and I never realized it. »

“It's true that we had some luck tonight, but we'll take advantage of it,” coach Courtney Kessel said.

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In the end, Frankel's influence was such that despite the defeat, those who encountered his exploits still felt they were exploiting a tailwind in preparation for the second game of the series.

“I think you just have to keep going, keep putting a lot of shots into the net, hide your eyes, put traffic in front of you, keep going,” Marie-Philippe Poulin insisted. We can't take this game and say we're starting over [à zéro]. We have momentum. You have to keep going like this, hit as many shots as you can, if not more, and find the back of the net. »

“We can't spend a lot of time feeling sorry for ourselves,” coach Cory Chevery said. We had chances to score. Obviously we will have to be more opportunistic, but even if it is disappointing, I am satisfied with the effort. I know we will need results, but overall, I'm happy with what we showed and I think it gives us momentum for the future. »


If it's true that Frankel will have a hard time replicating the version she produced Thursday, the same logic applies to Montreal's defensive efforts. If the defeat hurt so much, it's because it marred the almost perfect performance of the women in burgundy.

Boston did not test the Debians until the 10th minute, managing just two shots on target in the first half and trailing 20-5 in that regard after 33 minutes of play, but the hosts were never able to turn their dominance into a comfortable cushion. Not without effort, they produced nothing but O'Neill's power-play goal.

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Furthermore, Montreal's last four goals were scored by females. It has been 135 minutes and 37 seconds since the team had a chance to equalise.

“Sometimes, maybe we could have been more alert to take advantage of the bouncing shot,” Poulin agreed. But overall, we had a lot of good chances. »

Boston regained its color after the second intermission. Lexie Adzija tied the game shortly after the start by deflecting Sophie Shirley's shot wide of Desbiens' glove.

Debians was less demanding than its counterpart, and was reassured by the sporadic disturbances of its attackers, who did not hesitate to break into its workplace. She may blame herself for not being able to control Megan Keeler's throw in the sequence that led to the decisive goal, but it would be unfair to blame her for the unfortunate outcome. She finished the game with 24 saves.

The two teams will meet again on Saturday, in Laval, in the second match of the series. Montreal will be under pressure to get a result if it wants to avoid facing elimination in the enemy's stronghold next week.

“We will come back strong,” Bolin promised.