Saturday, March 21, 2009 - Submitted by Julia Wall-Clarke
March 21, 2009
Scotiabank Canadian Women’s Championship Finals
Montreal Stars 3: Minnesota Whitecaps 1
The Montreal Stars took home the inaugural Clarkson Cup in this year’shistorical Canadian Women’s Hockey Championship. The final game pitted the Montreal Stars, the top team from the East, against the Minnesota Whitecaps, the top team from the West.
Montreal hit the ground running with a shot on Minnesota goaltender Sanya Sandahl just 14 seconds into the first. The effort was quickly returned by Minnesota, with a shot on veteran Stars goalie Kim St. Pierre.
Throughout the scoreless first period, both teams laid the point shots on thick but the pucks were easily corralled by the goalies. It looked like a breathtaking breakaway pass from Minnesota’s Angela Ruggiero to Jenny Potter would put Minnesota on the scoreboard, but Potter’s shot fell wide of the net. Another two-on-one by the Whitecaps missed the net.
After a penalty was called on Montreal for high-sticking, the Stars gave everything they had on the Minnesota power play, blocking every shot and not allowing the Whitecaps to capitalize on the one-man advantage.
Early in the second, Shauna Denis and Sabrina Harbec’s outstanding efforts forced a two-on-one. Denis scored from Harbec’s pass, putting the short-benched Whitecaps back on their heels for much of the second.But Minnesota rallied and managed to earn some room in Montreal’s end when Jenny Potter found Angela Ruggiero, who roofed it past St. Pierre to even up the score at 1-1.
Less than two minutes later, Montreal proved that they preferred playing in the Minnesota zone. On a pass from Caroline Ouellette, a hard-working Harbec forced one past the Whitecaps’ netminder Sanya Sandahl, who was trying to find the puck on a rebound. The second period ended with a score of 2-1 in Montreal’s favour.
Less than two minutes into the third, another Montreal two-on-one resulted in a crisp pass from Marie-Philip Poulin to Ouellette, who found some room under Sandahl’s glove. With the score at 3-1, it gave Montreal a bit of room to breathe — not that they did.
Another Minnesota power play had Montreal bodies flying everywhere, blocking Minnesota’s shots as they peppered the Stars with shots. But Minnesota was a long way from giving up, forcing Montreal’s St. Pierre to come up big, practically standing on her head as the Whitecaps crashed the net and gave it everything they had. Unfortunately for the Whitecaps, it wasn’t enough. The Stars held them off and hung on to their 3-1 lead for the win.
In a historical moment, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson presented Lisa-Marie Breton, captain of the Montreal Stars, with the first-ever Clarkson Cup.
The player of the game for the Minnesota Whitecaps was goalie Sanya Sandahl and the player of the game for the Montreal Stars was Caroline Ouellette.