Montreal 2, Vanke 0: Canadiennes Sweep Three-Game Set With the Rays

Emerance Maschmeyer Collects Second Consecutive Shutout For Montreal in the Win

Les Canadiennes completed the three-game sweep of the Vanke Rays with a 2-0 win Tuesday night. Photo Daren Zomerman

It was a much closer game than the two previous matchups between both squads over the weekend. But, in the end, Montreal had the upper hand in a 2-0 blanking of the Vanke Rays Tuesday night at Arena Michel Normandin.

Vanke played a strong game, led in large part by starting goaltender Elaine Chuli. She was perfect, save for two deflected point shots by Les Canadiennes with bodies in front. She stopped 38 Canadiennes drives on net in the loss.

It was a sharp contrast from the team’s previous two defeats to Montreal, in which they were outscored by a combined total of 21-3, including a 14-0 onslaught suffered on Sunday.

“We talked about playing with purpose, passion and pride,” said Rays bench boss Rob Morgan. “By being able to come back from that kind of performance, it shows our Chinese nationals how to push back. There’s nothing you can do about the past, but here today you can do something special.”

“Typically when you suffer a blowout loss, you find a way to rebound in the next one,” said Canadiennes head coach Dany Brunet. “We know they are professionals and were going to show up tonight and play a tight game.”

A key to the win for Montreal was their strong defensive play in front of goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer. Les Canadiennes were able to neutralize Vanke’s top offensive threats in Cayley Mercer, Brooke Webster and Ashleigh Brykaliuk for the second straight game. As a result, Maschmeyer was able to collect her second straight shutout and fourth of the season in the win.

“It was a big part of our game plan,” said Brunet. “We studied this team and knew that they had two or three explosive players offensively that can make a difference in the game by themselves. Cathy Chartrand and Erin Ambrose did a great job of neutralizing them tonight.”

“As a goalie, I don’t like to treat any player differently,” said Maschmeyer. “They all can score in this league. For me, it’s just focusing on being in the moment and not thinking too much about what they’re going to do, but rather on what we are going to do.”

After a scoreless opening half of the game, Les Canadiennes finally broke through for the game’s opening tally at the midway point of the second period. Ambrose’s point shot was deflected in the slot by Emmanuelle Blais.

Photo Daren Zomerman
“Ambrose shoots the puck well,” said Blais. “If you go to the net, it’s easy. Just put your stick up and it will hit you.”

Les Canadiennes’ second goal was almost a carbon-copy of the first. On an Emma Woods holding infraction in the early goings of the third period, Chartrand sent a drive on net that was tipped in front by Noemie Marin for her thirteenth goal of the season.

Caroline Ouellette, still in search of her record-setting 131st goal in her Canadian Women’s Hockey League career, collected secondary assists on both Montreal goals and was named the game’s first star. Ouellette has recorded four assists in her first three games of the season for Montreal and according to her coach, has started to find her groove.

“You can see that game by game, she has become more effective,” said Brunet. “She greatly contributed to our success this weekend, both on the ice and as a leader in the locker room. The best is yet to come for Caroline.”

“It’s so easy to play with her,” said linemate Blais. “Her vision and ability to always find me on the ice makes my job so much easier. Selfishly, I hope she stays on my line. I am so happy.”

Montreal remains in first place with a record of 17-3. They sit two points ahead of the Kunlun Red Star. All in all, the team was content with their sweep of the Rays and their overall performance.

“It was a really good weekend,” said Maschmeyer. “Our team played strong all throughout. There weren’t many times where we got too low. We kept our emotions in check and stayed in the moment.”

Les Canadiennes will have just a few days to recover before embarking on a weekend road trip to Boston to take on the cellar-dwelling Blades. Montreal will then enjoy a two-week Olympic break ahead of their trip to China to face the Rays and Red Star at the end of February.