O’Neill has a goal and an assist, Montreal clinches a playoff berth with 5-2 win over New York

MONTREAL (AP) — Kristin O’Neill had a goal and an assist and Montreal clinched a Professional Women’s Hockey League playoff spot with a 5-2 win over New York on Wednesday night.

The victory moved Montreal into a tie for first place with Toronto, each with 38 points. Toronto has a game in hand. The loss eliminated New York from playoff contention in the six-team league.

Catherine Daoust, Catherine Dubois, Laura Stacey and Mélodie Daoust also had goals for Montreal, which scored four times in the second period.

“The second period has been our nemesis all year but we came out with a lot of energy after a slow start,” Montreal coach Kori Cheverie said. “And I was happy that we did a good job protecting the lead when they turned up the heat in the third.”

Ann-Renée Desbiens made 31 saves, including 14 in the first period.

“Having a first period like that gives a goaltender belief,” Desbiens said.

Marie-Philip Poulin picked up one assist to move past Toronto’s Natalie Spooner for top spot in the league scoring race with 22 points.

Ella Shelton and Alexandra Labelle, with a short-handed goal, scored for New York. Corinne Schroeder stopped 20 shots.

New York failed to capitalize on its power play, coming up empty on three opportunities in the first period and finishing the game 0 for 5. Montreal was 2 for 4 with the extra player.

O’Neill, who scored one of the power-play goals — Stacey had the other — said she was determined to step up her offensive game after helping Canada win the gold medal at the world championships earlier this month.

“At the world championships, I was playing with two college girls and now I have (Poulin) on one side and Stacey on the right with her one-timer,” said O’Neill. “It’s a good fit."


Montreal travels to Ottawa on Saturday.

New York hosts Toronto on Sunday.


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