MONTRÉAL, QC (January 20, 2024) – The third week of the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) season wraps up with a Saturday night matchup between Canadian hockey rivals Toronto and Montréal at 8:00 p.m. ET at Verdun Auditorium.



Fans in Canada can stream the game live on CBC Gem with Daniella Ponticelli calling play-by-play alongside analyst Saroya Tinker. United States viewers can stream the game on the league’s YouTube channel. French-language coverage will stream on ICI TOU.TV with Jean St-Onge calling play-by-play with analyst Stéphanie Poirier and reporter Christine Roger. Alexandre Coupal will be in studio with guest analyst Kim St-Pierre.




The first matchup in PWHL history between these two passionate Canadian hockey cities features two teams on opposite paths over their last three games. Montréal (2-1-1-1) is in second place in the league’s overall standings with nine points by virtue of their two regulation wins (three points each), overtime victory (two points), and overtime loss (one point). They’ve collected seven of their last possible nine points counting a 5-2 win in New York on January 10, last Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss to Boston at Verdun Auditorium, and Tuesday’s 3-2 win over New York at Place Bell. The latest victory made them the first Canadian team to win on home ice this season. During the same 10-day period, sixth place Toronto (1-0-0-4) has suffered three-straight losses. They dropped a 3-1 decision in Minnesota on January 10, followed by home losses to Ottawa by a 5-1 score last Saturday, and a 3-2 defeat against Boston on Wednesday. Following today’s contest, both teams will have reached the quarter mark of their regular-season schedule having played six of 24 games.




Montréal has three players tied for fourth in league scoring with five points each. Captain Marie-Philip Poulin is among them, and her fourth goal of the season counted as Tuesday’s game-winner late in the third period to beat New York. Maureen Murphy and Tereza Vanišová are tied for the league-lead with five assists each and are both riding three-game point-streaks. Laura Stacey is second on the team with two goals. For Toronto, Rebecca Leslie tops the team’s offensive charts with three assists. The team has six players with two points each, including Hannah Miller, who scored both of Toronto’s goals on Wednesday (assisted by Leslie), and Natalie Spooner, who also has a pair of goals.




A look at Montréal and Toronto rosters is a lot like looking at Canada’s National Women’s Team. Twelve players across both units brought home a silver medal in the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship, representing more than half of Canada’s entry. The list includes Montréal’s Erin Ambrose, Ann-Renée Desbiens, Kristin O’Neill, Marie-Philip Poulin, and Laura Stacey, and Toronto’s Kristen Campbell, Renata Fast, Jocelyne Larocque, Emma Maltais, Sarah Nurse, Natalie Spooner, and Blayre Turnbull. Substitute O’Neill with Montréal reserve Mélodie Daoust and it’s a group that captured Olympic gold in 2022. Similarly, substitute Spooner with Toronto reserve Victoria Bach and it’s the group that won gold at the 2022 Worlds.




It’ll be an all-Team Canada matchup between-the-pipes tonight with Montréal’s Ann-Renée Desbiens opposite Toronto’s Kristen Campbell. The goaltenders rank one-two in minutes played this season with Campbell (256:49) making her league-leading sixth start, and Desbiens (242:13) getting the call for the fifth time. Campbell entered Saturday’s action having faced a league-high 121 shots, with one win to her credit along with a goals-against-average of 3.50 and save percentage of .876. Desbiens has a pair of wins with a 2.23 GAA and .912 SV%. She’s also faced 102 shots which ranks third among netminders.




A pair of Toronto defenders will be playing in their first PWHL game in their home province of Québec, including Maude Poulin-Labelle (Sherbrooke) who is in the midst of her first professional season after graduating from Northeastern University in 2023. Lauriane Rougeau (Beaconsfield) spent the last four years competing as a member of the PWHPA and played seven CWHL seasons in Montréal from 2007-09 and again from 2014-19. She was notably part of two Clarkson Cup teams, winning with the Stars in 2009 alongside Marie-Philip Poulin, and with Les Canadiennes in 2017 with Poulin, Ann-Sophie Bettez, and Sarah Lefort.



Tonight’s tilt features an assortment of opposing players who were once NCAA teammates. Ann-Renée Desbiens (MTL) played with a trio of Toronto players at Wisconsin in captain Blayre Turnbull, Samantha Cogan, and Sarah Nurse— Desbiens and Nurse spent their entire NCAA careers together from 2013-17. Montreal defender Erin Ambrose is also lining up against a trio of former teammates today, having played at Clarkson University with Renata Fast throughout the duration of her college career from 2012-16, with Erica Howe from 2012-14, and Emma Keenan in 2015-16.  Boston University alumnae MariePhilip Poulin (MTL), Sarah Lefort (MTL), Rebecca Leslie (TOR) and Victoria Bach (TOR) were all teammates in 2014-15, with the latter three spending 2014-16 together. Emma Maltais (TOR) and Madison Bizal (MTL) were Ohio State Buckeyes from 2018-21, and Maureen Murphy (MTL) and Maude PoulinLabelle (TOR) spent the 2022-23 season together at Northeastern University. A number of additional duos played their entire NCAA careers together: Mariah Keopple (MTL) and Maggie Connors (TOR) played at Princeton from 2018-23; Kennedy Marchment (MTL) and Hannah Miller (TOR) spent 2014-18 together at St. Lawrence University; and Tereza Vanišová played all of her college hockey—from 2016-20—at the University of Maine with Carly Jackson, although Jackson joined the school a year earlier.


“The rivalry between Montréal and Toronto has always existed and it will be the case in this league as well. We are excited. We know a lot of players on the other side. Obviously, we know their coaching staff, and they know us. We have a lot of respect for them, but at the same time, it adds a lot of competitiveness.” – Laura Stacey, Montréal


“We are really excited to be facing Montréal for the first time this season and to play in front of their home crowd. The atmosphere will be awesome. Despite losing our last game, there were a lot of positive takeaways that we are looking to build on as we continue to get better as a team heading into this game.” – Blayre Turnbull, Toronto




Montréal (2.60) is tied for fourth and Toronto (1.40) ranks sixth in goals-per-game average… Montréal (2.40) ranks fourth and Toronto (3.40) ranks sixth with the most goals allowed per game…Montréal has scored first just twice in five games, while Toronto scored the game’s first goal for the first time on Wednesday…Montréal’s offensive breakdown includes three goals in the first period, four in the second, and five in the third period…Toronto has scored one first period goal, four in the second, and two in the third period…Toronto has allowed a league-high six first period goals and six third period goals…Toronto (+18) has the greatest shot differential in the PWHL and leads the way with an average of 30.8 shots per game… Montréal ranks third in shots per game average at 29.2… Montréal has not lost when leading after 20 or 40 minutes…Montréal has won both games where they’ve outshot their opponent…Both teams have the two lowest powerplay efficiencies with Toronto (1/14) 7.1% just slightly ahead of Montréal (1/16) 6.3%… Montréal (17/20) 85% ranks fourth in penalty kill, Toronto (8/10) 80% ranks fifth…Montréal is the most penalized team in the league with 42 minutes…Marie-Philip Poulin, Mauren Murphy, Tereza Vanišová are tied for Montréal lead with five points…Rebecca Leslie leads Toronto with three points…Emma Maltais (TOR) is tied for the league-lead with one shorthanded goal…Poulin ranks third in the league with a +5 rating…Laura Stacey (MTL) leads the team with 20 shots…Blayre Turnbull (TOR) leads the team with 18 shots…Poulin leads team with 118 face-offs and has a 55.9% win-percentage…Turnbull has taken a team-high 77 draws and has a 48.1% efficiency…Sarah Nurse (24/38) leads the team with a 63.2% efficiency…Jillian Dempsey (MTL) celebrated her 33rd birthday Friday…No two teams have played head-to-head more in NHL history than Montréal and Toronto with the Canadiens leading the all-time series with 366 wins in 766 games.




Vanišová | Poulin | Murphy
Bettez | O’Neill | Stacey
Lefort | Dempsey | Marchment
Dalton | Bujold | David

Keopple | Ambrose
Tabin | Lásková
Lum | Daoust

Desbiens | Chuli

Scratches: Bizal, Boissonnault, Laganière 


Connors | Nurse | Spooner
Maltais | Turnbull | Howard
Miller | Compher | Leslie
Cogan | Vasko | Willoughby

Larocque | Fast
Munroe | Flanagan
Rougeau | Knowles

Campbell | Howe

Scratches: Jackson, Jones


Referees: Elizabeth Mantha (Longueuil, QC) and Chelsea Rapin (Essex Jct. VT).

Linespersons: Laura Gutauskas (Woolwich, ON) and Anthony Lapointe (Lachine, QC).


Follow the league on all social media platforms @thepwhlofficial plus team accounts @pwhl_montreal and @pwhl_toronto.