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In battle of PWHL’s top two teams, Minnesota falls 2-1 to Montreal

LAVAL, QUEBEC – Elaine Chuli made 21 saves for her fourth win in as many starts as Montreal defeated Minnesota 2-1 on Sunday.

Chuli, who is playing backup to Canada No. 1 Ann-Renee Desbiens, is the only goalie to see action without a loss this season. She entered the game with a league-leading .962 save percentage.

Sarah Lefort scored the game-winning goal and Claire Dalton also found the back of the net for Montreal, which was shut out 3-0 against Toronto on Friday in front of a women's hockey-record crowd of 19,285 at Scotiabank Arena.

Captain Kendall Coyne Schofield scored the lone goal for league-leading Minnesota, which won 2-1 at Ottawa on Saturday. Maddie Rooney stopped 18 shots in her first loss.

A rowdy sold-out crowd of 10,172 took in the battle between the PWHL's top two teams.

Dalton opened the scoring on the power play 3:41 into the first period, deflecting a point shot from Kati Tabin past Rooney for her second of the season. It was only Montreal's third power-play goal this year.

Montreal controlled the play through much of the period, holding Minnesota without a shot on goal until 12:22 into the game.

Schofield got Minnesota on the board at 17:42 after picking up a rebound and finishing a backhand over Chuli's left shoulder for her fourth.

Lefort scored her first on the season 14:06 into the second to put Montreal up 2-1. She started the play by setting up Madison Bizal for a one-timer with a saucer pass, and finished it by burying the rebound.

Montreal signed forward Catherine Dubois to a standard player agreement before the game. The 28-year-old produced one goal in seven games while playing on 10-day contracts for Montreal.

In a corresponding move, the team placed defender Dominika Laskova on long-term injured reserve. The 27-year-old last played Jan. 27 against Boston.

Minnesota star forward Taylor Heise missed her third game in a row because of an upper-body injury suffered in Game 7 of the Rivalry Series between Canada and the U.S. on Feb. 11. Selected first overall in the PWHL's inaugural draft, Heise has three goals and three assists in nine games this season.