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PWHL Toronto tops Montreal 3-0 in front of record-setting crowd at Scotiabank Arena

TORONTO – Kristen Campbell earned a 30-save shutout and Toronto took the “Battle on Bay Street” over Montreal 3-0 in Professional Women’s Hockey League action on Friday.

The PWHL’s first game at Scotiabank Arena set a league and women’s hockey attendance record with a sellout crowd of 19,285. The previous PWHL mark of 13,316 people was set at Xcel Energy Center for Minnesota’s home opener on Jan. 6.

Jesse Compher and Hannah Miller scored a goal apiece while Victoria Bach added an empty-netter for Toronto (6-5-0), which extended its winning streak to four games.

Ann-Renee Desbiens stopped 21 shots for Montreal (6-2-2), which fell to 0-1-1 against Toronto this season.

Canadian women’s national basketball team star Kia Nurse, the cousin of PWHL Toronto star Sarah Nurse, performed the ceremonial puck drop.

Toronto found itself in some trouble early in the first period. After Emma Maltais was sent to the penalty box for tripping at 6:30, Renata Fast joined her a minute later for hooking to give Montreal a 5-on-3 advantage.

But Toronto blocked a number of shots, with Campbell also standing tall in the face of some clean looks from Maureen Murphy and Kennedy Marchment, among others.

Natalie Spooner had some of Toronto‘s better scoring chances with a wrist shot at 4:11 and a one-timer with 1:09 left in the frame on a feed from Nurse.

Toronto turned it up offensively with more quality chances in the second period, while stopping Montreal from getting many clean looks at Campbell.

Maltais hustled down the ice for a loose puck and sent a backhand pass into the slot for Spooner who couldn’t get it past Desbiens just over a minute in.

Just under eight minutes in, Spooner drove into Montreal’s zone, drawing the attention of three defenders, and dropped a pass to a trailing Nurse but her shot was blocked.

Maltais sent in another pass from behind the goal to an open Nurse who fired a shot from the left faceoff circle but hit the post at 10:55.

Compher finally broke the deadlock at 5:11 of the third period, to the delight of the deafening home crowd waving their rally towels. She took a feed in front from Brittany Howard, who was behind the net, and fired it in over Desbiens’s left shoulder.

After Maggie Connors went to the penalty box for hooking at 6:14, Toronto almost scored two short-handed goals. Maltais went in on a breakaway but was stopped by Desbiens, shortly followed by Nurse setting up Spooner who was stonewalled in front.

With Renata Fast going off for cross-checking at 8:44, Montreal turned up the pressure with multiple shots from Marie-Philip Poulin and one from Kati Tabin but couldn’t solve Campbell.

Miller doubled Toronto‘s lead with 4:39 remaining in the third. She fired in a wrist shot five-hole coming down the left side of the ice.

Bach scored with 4:07 left after Desbiens was pulled for an extra attacker.

UP NEXT

Toronto welcomes New York at Mattamy Athletic Centre next Friday.

Montreal returns home to host Minnesota on Sunday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 16, 2024.