The Clarkson Cup final saw the Montreal Stars face off against the Boston Blades on Saturday afternoon. Both teams swept their best-of-three match-ups during the week to make it to the final. Genevieve Lacasse got the start in net for Boston, while Charline Labonte started for Montreal. Both goalies have suited up for Team Canada in the past.
Fans didn't have to wait long for the first goal of the game. Just 31 seconds in, Ann-Sophie Bettez took a pass from Caroline Ouellette behind the net, and snuck it past Lacasse. Within the first minute, Montreal had a 1-0 lead.
The next few minutes saw a plethora of penalties from both teams. First, Montreal's Emmanuelle Blais went to the box. Boston had plenty of shots and scoring chances on the power play, but Labonte stood tall in net for Montreal.
As the first penalty expired, Montreal found themselves in the penalty box again for a too many men on the ice. But shortly after that, Brianna Decker took a body checking penalty and Boston's power play ended.
Despite a couple of odd-man rushes, Montreal was unable to control the puck for more than a few seconds. Boston controlled the play for the majority of the first period, but Charline Labonte was at the top of her game and kept Montreal in the lead.
After a delay game penalty for Montreal, Boston finally tied things up with a goal from Hilary Knight in the final four minutes of the period. Knight was left all alone at the side of the net on the power play. She took a pass from the point and made no mistake in tucking it past Labonte.
Boston would then take a late penalty, putting Montreal on the power play going into the second period. Montreal, however, was unable to capitalize on the power play early in the second.
What the first half of the second period lacked in penalties, it made up for in Boston scoring chances. Charline Labonte was very busy in net, as Boston completely controlled the play. It seemed like every few minutes there was a scramble in front of Montreal's net. Montreal did see a couple of 3-on-2s off Boston turnovers, but failed to capitalize on any of them.
With six minutes remaining in the second period, Montreal took another too-many-men penalty, and Boston was back on the power play. Once again, despite many scoring chances, the Blades failed to beat Labonte. As Montreal's penalty expired, Kim Deschênes came out of the box and found herself on a partial breakaway. Lacasse was able to make the save on one of Montreal's best scoring chances.
Just two minutes later, Brianna Decker took a slashing penalty, forcing Boston to bring out their penalty kill unit, and putting Montreal on the power play. Montreal saw their first scoring chance early on, as a shot from Ouellette was tipped by Lacasse high in the air. The puck landed on top of the net, and the play was called dead.
Boston took one more opportunity to make Montreal fans nervous before the period was over. A 3-on-1 for the Blades was broken up by a back-checking Julie Chu, and saved by Labonte. The period would end with the game still tied 1-1.
Both teams would exchange penalties at the beginning of the third period; Boston for too many men, and Montreal for holding (Stacie Tardif). While Montreal failed to score on their power play, Boston would not make the same mistake. Brianna Decker put Boston up 2-1 with a goal off a beautiful shot from the slot.
That lead would not last long, after a confusing play which saw Lacasse go down and Emmanuelle Blais score for the Stars. The refs would review it, but the goal was confirmed, and the game was tied 2-2.
In the final minutes of the game, Kim Deschênes thought she scored to give Montreal the lead. After a 3-on-1, Deschênes took a shot from the side of the net. Lacasse made the initial save, before Deschênes poked it through her legs and into the net. The refs disallowed it, as the play had been called dead. The game remained tied at the end of the third, and went to overtime.
Overtime wouldn't last long though. Just over two minutes into the sudden-death period, Janine Weber scored short-side on Labonte, winning it for Boston. The Boston Blades are therefore the 2015 Clarkson Cup Champions.
Congratulations to everyone on the Boston Blades and all their fans! Thanks for reading.