Montreal – Boston | A “heated battle” in sight

“I don’t know how it’s possible for it to be more physical, honestly, but I’m sure it is when your season is on the line, when you want to win a championship. »

Laura Stacey smiled slightly as she said these words Tuesday morning after the Montreal team’s training at the Verdun Auditorium.

This is because the season of the Professional Women’s Hockey League (LPHF) was very robust. This is undoubtedly what surprised the most at the start of the campaign; the frequency and power of shots in the corners of the boards, despite the ban on applying checks.

Everything indicates that it will be even more intense starting Thursday evening, during the Montreal team’s first match at Place Bell. Boston will be in town for the first two games of this 3-of-5 matchup.

“It will be a heated battle,” summarized head coach Kori Cheverie.


Head coach, Kori Cheverie

And how do we prepare for it?

“It’s mostly about being aware. I don’t think it’s our style to be physical all the time, but I think it’s our style to play aggressively. »

Among the Montrealers, Catherine Dubois is one of the troops who plays with the most robustness. The Quebecer is ready for what is to come, but keeps her priority in mind: helping the team win.

“I always prepare to play physical. Of course I have to watch out for penalties. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s been playing on my mind a bit these days. I don’t want to penalize my team. »

Since the start of the season, we have noticed a certain irregularity in the officials’ calls. Certain blows are punished, while others, although less serious, are not. A bit as if no one really knows what is accepted and prohibited.


Catherine Dubois

“It always depends on which referee is there, so it’s definitely difficult to know where the limit is,” admitted Dubois. We have to keep our game simple and try to hit with low hands, legally. I’m really trying to be careful about that because I’ve been penalized a lot in the last few matches. It’s hard to know where the line is, but it’s a first year and everyone is adjusting. The referees too. »

“I anticipate that referees won’t want to be the ones dictating a match, so I have a feeling there will be a lot more whistles put away,” Cheverie said.

“A prelude”

The Montrealers had no idea, last Saturday, during their last match of the season in Boston, that they were facing those against whom they would measure themselves in the first round of the playoffs.

The match ended with a score of 4-3 to the advantage of the Bostonians. It must be said that the American team absolutely had to win this duel in regulation time to obtain its place in the playoffs, while the Canadian team was already assured of participation in the spring dance.

The two teams did not share the same motivation, therefore, but Montreal was still able to show its character by overcoming a 0-3 deficit in the third period. We also witnessed a lot of bickering after stoppages in play. As Ann-Renée Desbiens said on Tuesday morning, “(the series) started at the last game ! It’s going to be a six-game series, it looks like. »

“It was a prelude to what we would have in series,” said Catherine Daoust.


Catherine Daoust

It will be “a bit like redemption,” says Kori Cheverie.

Tuesday, training was shorter than usual, around twenty minutes. Ann-Renée Desbiens also left the ice rink 45 minutes before everyone else. This is because the coaching staff is trying to reduce the training load, which can’t hurt, especially since the players will be playing their first 3-of-5 in their lives.

“We are really lucky because our staff knows what they are doing and knows where we are going,” said Catherine Dubois. Just respecting what he asks of us will really help. »

“I love these moments”

The excitement began to be felt among the players on Tuesday, two days before the first clash.

“I love these moments, the moments that are important, that allow us to extend our season,” said Ann-Renée Desbiens. If you don’t like it, you probably didn’t choose the right sport. »


Ann-Renée Desbiens

Catherine Daoust remembered watching a Montreal-Boston rivalry match on the screen at the Bell Center, while the match was taking place in Boston.

“Just the excitement… When we won a round against Boston, there was a commotion in the streets, it was a little intense. You know the whole town is behind you, and I hope it will be the same for us too. »

A riot in Laval?, replied RDS colleague Andrée-Ann Barbeau.

“Maybe not a riot in Laval! But to know that everyone is behind us…”


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