GAME RECAP: CHULI BACKSTOPS MONTRÉAL TO WIN OVER MINNESOTA IN BATTLE FOR FIRST PLACE

ST. PAUL, MN (January 24, 2024) – Montréal goaltender Elaine Chuli made 45 saves to lead her team to a 2-1 win over Minnesota at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Wednesday.

 

Minnesota outshot Montréal in all three periods—and notably recorded 23 shots in the middle frame— but Chuli kept her team in the game until the eventual game-winner was scored late in the third period.

 

Chuli now has two regulation wins in her two starts for Montréal and is the only PWHL goaltender without a loss. Her 45 saves are the most in a single-game by any netminder in the PWHL this season.

 

Entering the game, the two teams sat first and second in the PWHL standings, with Minnesota leading Montréal by two points. With the regulation win, Montreal nabbed three crucial points to leapfrog Minnesota for first place atop the league.

 

The first goal of the game was scored less than five minutes in, at 4:12 of the first, when Montréal forward Tereza Vanišová picked up a Brigitte Laganière rebound and delivered the puck to Laura Stacey at the top of the circle. Stacey’s one-timer deflected off a Minnesota player and found its way over the outstretched glove of goaltender Nicole Hensley, giving Montréal a 1-0 lead.

 

Minnesota fired 13 straight shots to start the second period, and finally tied it up at 11:51 courtesy of Michela Cava’s first goal of the season.

 

After her linemate Liz Schepers found an open lane and took the puck to the net, Cava jumped on the rebound, burying the tying goal for the home team on their 24th shot of the game.

 

Montréal got their first shot of the second frame at 8:38. Shots at the end of the second period were 29-17 in favor of Minnesota.

 

Minnesota’s strong play continued in the third as they persistently fired shots at the Montréal net. Chuli stood tall amidst the pressure, stopping all 13 shots she faced in the frame, giving her team the chance to pull ahead with just 6:06 remaining in the game.

 

The winning goal came after Montréal forward Maureen Murphy chased down a puck that was dumped into Minnesota’s zone by teammate Catherine Daoust. Murphy put the puck on net and a charging Vanišová potted her first of the season and second point of the contest.

 

Montréal hung on with strong defensive play in the last five minutes and withstood the last wave of Minnesota pressure to take the game with a final score of 2-1.

 

Hensley made 25 saves in the game, which was Minnesota’s first regulation loss of the season.

Up next, Montréal returns home to Place Bell for a January 27 tilt against Ottawa. The same afternoon, Minnesota looks to get back in the win column when they visit Boston for a rematch of their season opener at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell.

 

Postgame Quotes:

 

Tereza Vanišová on her game-winning-goal: “There was a great forecheck from Murph (Maureen Murphy) and the puck just bounced back to me and there was an empty net. That’s how easy it was for (my) first goal. We got a lot of penalties this game so a lot of time on the PK. There was definitely ups and down but we kept focus on the game, and our game plan, and it worked out. It’s great for us. Minnesota is very skilled and I’m really happy we got the W.”

 

Montréal head coach Kori Cheverie on being outshot 46-25: “Yes, we gave up a lot of shots, but many were from the outside. I am not worried about it. I was happy with the response from our group tonight. I don’t care about the shot volume at all. Defence is part of the game, just like offence is. Every night as of late feels like a game 7 and it’s hard to get 3 points in this league.”

 

Minnesota captain Kendall Coyne Schofield on the loss, Chuli’s play: “Every game matters, every point matters so that’s what’s tough about a loss. Especially when you outshoot someone two to one. You have to tip your hat to their goaltender who played well tonight – that’s how it goes. She stood on her head and we couldn’t solve her.”

 

Notes:

  • Attendance: 5,001 – Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Three Stars: 1) Elaine Chuli 2) Tereza Vanišová 3) Michela Cava
  • Finals Shots were 46-26 in favor of Minnesota — They led every period in the category, with 9-8 (1st) 23-11 (2nd) and 14-7 (3rd).
  • Minnesota has only outshot its opponent twice – Both times counting as the two highest shot totals of the season with 46 tonight and 41 on January 14 against New York.
  • In addition to Elaine Chuli’s season-high 45 saves, her 22 stops in the middle frame are the most in any period this season.
  • Grace Zumwinkle led all players with seven shots on goal – Teammates Taylor Heise and Liz Schepers were second with six each.
  • Tereza Vanišová had the most shots amongst Montréal players with four.
  • Vanišová climbs into a tie for second in PWHL scoring with seven points.
  • Vanišová and Maureen Murphy are in a three-way tie for league-lead with six assists.
  • Minnesota went 0/5 and Montréal went 0/2 on the powerplay.
  • This was Montréal’s fourth straight one-goal game, and Minnesota’s third straight.
  • Through seven games, Montréal still does not have consecutive wins or losses.
  • This was Minnesota’s first loss in regulation and second straight home loss after winning its first two home games.
  • Montréal (3-1-2-1) now leads the PWHL with 13 points, ahead of Minnesota (3-1-1-1) with 12 points.
  • Game Center | League Standings | League Schedule | League Stats