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Published February 25, 2024

Claire Dalton's hat trick leads PWHL Montreal past Ottawa 6-3

PWHL Montreal / Ottawa - CP

By Pat Hickey in Montreal

Claire Dalton made the most of a promotion to the top line, producing a hat trick to lead Montreal to a 6-3 victory over Ottawa on Saturday in the Professional Women’s Hockey League.

Montreal coach Kori Cheverie said she was searching for a different look when she put Dalton on a line with Marie-Philip Poulin and Laura Stacey, and the former Yale star contributed to what was “our most complete game this season,” the coach described.

“I learned in practice this week that I would be playing with Pou and Stace and they’re such great players who made it easy for me,” said Dalton. “I can’t remember the last time I had a hat-trick; I never had one in college.”

While Cheverie said she was pleased with her team’s strong start, the game was deadlocked at 1-1 late in the second period when Dalton scored a short-handed goal. 

She went airborne, à la Bobby Orr, as she beat Emerance Maschmeyer to put Montreal ahead for good at Verdun Auditorium.

“Any time you get a big goal like that, it gives you confidence,” said Poulin, who collected three assists.

Cheverie said Dalton was able to take advantage of playing with Poulin.

“The opposition is going to double team Poulin and that’s going to open up opportunities for the other players on that line,” said Cheverie.

Ottawa, which lost in overtime in each of its first two games against Montreal, came back from two-goal deficits to close within a goal at 3-2 and 4-3 but Dalton put the game out of reach when she tipped home a feed from Poulin at 15:25 of the third period.

“I have to thank my dad who would feed me pucks to work on tips when I was a kid on a backyard rink,” said Dalton. “Twenty years later, it’s paying off.”

It was a good day for the Montreal special teams.

Tereza Vanisova opened the scoring for Montreal with a power-play goal. 

It was only the fourth power-play goal this season for Montreal which came into the game with the worst power-play record in the league, succeeding on only 7.6 per cent of its opportunities. Montreal went 1-flor-2 for the game.

Ottawa went 1-for-5 on the power play, cutting the Montreal lead to 4-3 when Katerina Mrazova scored while the visitors enjoyed a 5-on-3 advantage.

Ann-Sophie Bettez and Maureen Murphy scored the other Montreal (5-3-2-2) goals.

Akane Shiga and Daryl Watts also scored for Ottawa (3-0-4-5).

Ann-Renée Desbiens made 28 saves for the win while Ottawa’s Emerance Maschmeyer made 19 stops.

The win moved Montreal into first place with 24 points. That’s three better than Minnesota, which has an opportunity to reclaim a share of the lead Sunday with a win at home over Boston.

UP NEXT

Ottawa is home to New York on Wednesday while Montreal plays Boston at home on March 2.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2024

Banner image via The Canadian Press

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