BARRIE, Canada – Kim St. Pierre earned the shutout and veteran Team Canada forward Caroline Ouellette had a goal and two assists to lead Montreal to a convincing 5-0 win over Toronto to win the third Clarkson Cup. The trophy is emblematic of professional women’s hockey supremacy in North America and was won in its first year by Montreal, in 2009. Minnesota won in 2010.
Also scoring were Noemie Marin, Vanessa Davidson, Sarah Vaillancourt, and Sabrina Harbec. Toronto goalie and CWHL founder Sami Jo Small faced 51 shots and was brilliant in defeat.
The trophy was presented by Kyra Clarkson, daughter of the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, who donated it while she was Canada’s governor general. The Clarkson Cup weekend started with four teams – Brampton and Minnesota were the others – playing a round robin, Toronto and Montreal the top two teams in the standings. Brampton also played in the CWHL while Minnesota qualified for the final weekend by virtue of being champion of the Western Women’s Hockey League (WWHL).
Neither Toronto nor Montreal has a nickname this season. Both teams are hoping that the CWHL will become affiliated with the NHL and the women can use Maple Leafs and Canadiens, respectively, just as the men do in the NHL.
Marin opened the scoring early in the first when she drove down the right wing and cut in on goal, banging the puck past the falling Small. Toronto never got back into the game after, and Montreal dominated the period. Davidson made it 2-0 at 14:47 when she got control of the puck just inside the Toronto blue line, cut to the middle in the slot, and rifled a shot over a screened Small as four Toronto players converged on her.
Despite having a decided edge in play in the second period, Toronto fell behind 3-0 midway through thanks to a great goal from Dominique Thibault. Taking a pass from Annie Guay in full flight at the Toronto blue line, Thibault roared down the right side, blew by Martine Garland, and cut across the crease. She held onto the puck and outwaited Small before roofing a shot.
Ouellette and Vaillancourt scored the only goals of the third late in the period to finish the scoring. Montreal featured several Olympians, notably St. Pierre, Vaillancourt, and Ouellette as well as Julie Chu, arch-rival for the United States when these players congregate next month for the World Women’s Championship in Zurich and Winterthur, Switzerland. Toronto boasted captain Jennifer Botterill, Tessa Bonhomme, and Alexandra Hoffmeyer (whose father, Bob, played several years in the NHL).
Botterill announced her retirement from the national team just days ago, and tonight marked her last league game. One of the greatest women to play the game, she heads into retirement with Hall of Fame credentials.