Les Canadiennes Thunderstruck Brampton With Overtime Win
Caroline Ouellette Scores Two Unanswered Goals in Comeback Victory
Caroline Ouellette scored the game-winning goal in overtime, propelling Les Canadiennes to a 4-3 victory over the Brampton Thunder Saturday night at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard.
With Brampton’s Jess Jones in the penalty box for slashing, Ouellette converted a sharp cross-ice pass from captain Marie-Philip Poulin with 1:54 remaining in overtime. It was Ouellette’s second goal and third point of the night.
“We had some good chances at our power play and I was happy to convert at the end,” said Ouellette.
“It was a great play by Poulin. She did a little fake. It was like Sochi reversed. I got to be her this time,” she explained, referencing Poulin’s game-winning overtime tally against the Americans in the gold-medal game of the Olympics.
“As the game progressed, we responded better,” said Canadiennes head coach Dany Brunet. “Our intensity level was better in all aspects of the game. It’s only normal that by the end of the game, we have more scoring chances and that we come away with the win.”
The game was a back-and-forth affair all throughout. Brampton’s Rebecca Vint opened the scoring on the power play just 37 seconds into the second period. She cut towards the middle and beat Canadiennes netminder Charline Labonté with a backhander to give the Thunder the lead. Just over three minutes later, defender Cathy Chartrand sniped her first of the campaign past Thunder goalkeeper Liz Knox to tie the score at one.
“It was a good game,” said Labonté. “Both teams were really great. It was back and forth and it really could have gone either way. I’m definitely happy with the win.”
“It was a great game, right up till the end,” said Jones. “There were some unfortunate plays at the end but both teams played hard.”
The teams exchanged two more goals before the second period was up. Jones converted a rebound of a Courtney Birchard point shot on the power play to make it 2-1. It was not long before Noemie Marin tipped home a Ouellette blast to knot things up once again.
The contest took a controversial turn in the third period. While with a man advantage early in the third, the Thunder capitalized, thanks to some deft hand-eye coordination. The puck lay on the top of the net, before being knocked off and batted in by Jones.
Les Canadiennes were adamant that the puck had been knocked in with a high stick, arguing with the referees about the call. Their arguments were to no avail, as the call was upheld after a brief consult.
“Usually, the referee blows the whistle,” said Labonté. “I don’t want to blame them. They are doing their jobs. I just thought it was a little slow on the whistle. I’ve never seen a goal like that.”
“It was a lot of luck,” admitted Jones. “I probably wouldn’t be able to do it again, but I will take the bounce.”
Les Canadiennes responded, however, with a magical goal of their own, courtesy of their top line stars. Poulin made a great move to get the puck to her linemate Ouellette during a 2-on-1 break. All Ouellette had to do was tap it into an empty cage to level the score at three. Ouellette said post-game that even her mother would have converted on that opportunity.
“There’s an old cliché: your best have to be your best,” said Brunet. “They showed it tonight. They have the ability and the opportunity to make a difference. Today, they proved it.”
The game would not have found its way into overtime without the heroics of Labonté. She made two highlight-reel stops, the first of which was a sprawling stick save on a 2-on-1 break for the Thunder. She would later make a fine glove save on defender Laura Fortino in the second period, a save qualified as “lucky” by the goaltender.
“Charline was outstanding in the nets,” said Ouellette. “She made some key saves for us at really important times.
“When we see Charline with a big save to keep us in the game, it gives us confidence on the bench,” said Brunet. “It pushes everyone to give a little more and do the things better.”
Les Canadiennes hope for a better start tomorrow when they face off against the Thunder once again at 1:30 p.m at the Etienne-Desmarteau Arena.
“It’s going to take a better start tomorrow for us to take the lead and not have to play catch-up hockey,” said Brunet.
“We know that tomorrow we need to be ready from the start and play with a bit more urgency,” said Ouellette.
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