ELMONT, N.Y. — Canada’s captain clutch is quickly plying her trade in the PWHL — and UBS Arena got to see it all.
PWHL Montreal captain Marie-Philip Poulin recorded a hat trick to lift her side to a 5-2 victory over PWHL New York on Tuesday night in the first-ever professional women’s hockey game played at UBS Arena, home of the NHL’s New York Islanders.
“The support from these individual teams has been amazing,” New York forward Ella Shelton, who scored the team’s second goal of the night, said. “It’s great to be able to come in and use their facilities. It’s been top-notch. It’s the treatment that we’ve been wanting and what we deserve. To play on that ice… it was kind of a dream come true to play on a big NHL rink.”
Poulin, who wears the captain’s “C” for Montreal as well as the Canadian national team, scored her side’s opener in the first period, their fourth — which was the second Montreal goal in a 1:05 span early in the third period to put New York away after Shelton knotted things up at two apiece just 26 seconds into the period — and an empty netter with 1:06 remaining in regulation.
“We wanted to play fast,” Poulin said. “From our defense to the offense. We all know we have a great team that’s fast enough to get behind their D and get a lot of pucks on nets.”
New York (1-2-0-0) took the lead 6:09 into the game when Jessie Eldridge roofed a wrist shot from the right circle over the blocker side of Montreal netminder Elaine Chuli — the first PWHL goal ever scored at UBS Arena and the right-winger’s first goal of the season.
Its opener, which felt like an inevitability given how the hosts dominated the opening minutes of the game, was quickly canceled out just 2:05 later. Poulin, one of the most decorated Canadian hockey players ever with three Olympic gold medals (she scored the game-winner in each of those gold-medal games) and three World Championships, converted a one-timer from in close off a pass by Erin Ambrose to equalize for Montreal (2-1-0-0).
“You have some really high-end players that you have to be aware of and Marie is one of those players,” Shelton said. “She knows how to find the back of the net every time she takes the puck toward the net. For us, it’s honing in on those areas where we could be better.”
The visitors wrenched further momentum from the hosts with a 5-on-3 power play opportunity with 5:12 to play in the frame, but New York successfully killed off both infractions to keep things level at the break.
New York’s penalty kill would not find the same success in the second period following a delay-of-game penalty by Emma Woods. At the 9:48 mark of the frame, Catherine Dubois stuffed home a loose puck amidst a scramble in front of Corinne Schroeder’s net.
Shelton drew New York level just 26 seconds into the third period while on the power play when a seeing-eye wrister from the point found its way through Chuli for her second goal of the season.
“We were down a goal so we wanted to push,” Shelton said. “I just saw a lane toward the net… luckily I found the back of the net.”
Montreal found another quick answer, though, as Kennedy Marchment snapped a one-timer from between the dots home just 4:32 after Shelton’s leveler.
Poulin picked up her second 1:05 later when she tapped in a centering feed from in close that was practically on the pad of Schroeder. Inside two minutes to go and with New York’s net empty, her long-range attempt from the opposite side of center ice was true to cap off the hat trick.
“We’re a ways away from where we need to be to beat a team like that,” New York head coach Howie Draper said. “I felt like they perhaps played a more organized game and I think it probably can be whittled down to just one-on-one battles.”