Bettez and Chartrand shine for Montreal Stars with numerous accolades

In a season that saw the Montreal Stars finish with the best win-loss record, it was only fitting that two of their finest added some hardware on CWHL Awards night. Representing a new generation of stars for the bleu, blanc et rouge, Ann-Sophie Bettez and Cathy Chartrand continued to build on the momentum of their superlative 2012-13 rookie campaigns.

Following up on her 2013 CWHL Rookie of the Year Award triumph, Ann-Sophie Bettez earned two awards. She would begin by claiming the Angela James Bowl, awarded to the highest scoring player during the CWHL regular season. In 23 regular season games, Bettez led the league in goals (16), assists (24), points (40), plus/minus rating (+23) and game-winning goals (7). Such a performance also garnered Bettez the league’s Most Valuable Player Award.

In Stars lore, Bettez becomes the fourth member of the franchise to claim the scoring title. Following in the paths of Sabrina Harbec (2010), Caroline Ouellette (2011) and Meghan Agosta-Marciano (2012, 2013), it also marks the fifth consecutive season that a member of the Stars claims the title.

Another unique aspect in the road towards the scoring title for Bettez was the fact that the top four scorers in the league all played for Montreal. The runner-up for the scoring title was Sarah Vaillancourt, who registered 35 points. Finishing in third was Vanessa (Vinny) Davidson with 31 points.

Of note, Davidson led the league in power play goals with eight while becoming one of three Stars players to reach 100 career points during the campaign. Ranking fourth with 30 points was Cathy Chartrand, only the second team captain in franchise history. Considering that Davidson, Bettez and Chartrand played together for the nationally ranked McGill Martlets in Canadian Interuniversity Sport, they are proudly building a new legacy of remarkable women’s hockey in Montreal.

While Chartrand tied with Davidson for the league lead in power play assists with 13, she managed to lead all defenders in scoring with 30 points. Statistically, she was also the top scoring defender in goals (9), assists (21), plus-minus rating (+18) and power play goals (4). Of note, it marked the second consecutive season that she was the scoring champion among defenders. For her efforts, she was recognized as the CWHL Defender of the Year.

Boston rookie defender Blake Bolden, the first African-American selected in the first round in the history of the CWHL Draft ranked second to Chartrand with 19 points. Of note, Bolden’s 19 points were good enough to lead all rookie defenders. Of note, Chartrand was the only defender to finish in the Top 10 in the CWHL scoring race. Along with Bolden, they were the only two ranked in the Top 25.

Perhaps the most impressive stats for Bettez and Chartrand were their scoring streaks. Bettez would open the season by registering at least one point in the first 21 games of the season. Said streak began on November 9, 2013 for Bettez in a 2-1 loss to the Boston Blades and continued until March 2, 2014, a 3-2 triumph against the Toronto Furies.

Ironically, the streak would come to an end against the Boston Blades. The Stars’ March 8 fundraiser for breast cancer would see Bettez left off the score sheet for the first time all season. During her remarkable streak, the Stars enjoyed a sparkling 18 wins, compared to only one regular season loss and two losses in overtime. On three separate occasions, Bettez registered four point performances. She would log two goals and two assists in wins against Brampton (January 12 and February 8), while a hat trick and one assist versus Boston on January 18 represented her finest performance.

Another streak that Bettez put together was eight games with at least one goal. Beginning on January 11 versus Brampton, it would also end against the same club on February 8. Scoring 13 games during the streak, Montreal boasted a 7-0-1 mark, outscoring opponents by a cumulative mark of 43-17.

Similarly, Chartrand would open her season with a 12-game scoring streak. With the Stars enjoying a 10-1-1 mark during Chartrand’s streak, it would set the tone for the season. During the streak, Chartrand’s best performance was a three-point effort on January 12, a 9-2 whitewashing of Brampton.

In the last 11 games of the season, Chartrand would log a point in seven of them. When Chartrand registered a point during that stretch, Montreal boasted a 7-0-0 mark. Perhaps more impressive was the fact that Montreal went 8-0-1 when Chartrand scored a goal in regular season play.

Considering how the complexion of the Stars had changed for 2013-14, with the inclusion of eight rookies, the leadership and presence of Bettez and Chartrand was invaluable. As many of the franchise’s original leaders are entering the twilight of their careers, the impact of Bettez and Chartrand not only promises that the strong tradition of winning is secure but it guarantees that the future is in tremendous hands.

Milestone game for CWHL co-founder Liz Breton as she earns 100th point of her storied Stars career

Having logged career point 99 before the holiday break, Montreal Stars fans eagerly awaited with anticipation as to when Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux would hit the magical century mark. The historic moment would come on January 11 at Arena St. Louis as the Stars continued to extend their stranglehold on first place in the CWHL standings.

With the remarkable rookie crop this season, the opportunities for history during this season seem limitless. For one magical moment in time, a remarkable veteran left her mark on January 11. Fans at Arena St. Louis were treated to a historic game as Breton-Lebreux contributed a goal in a 4-1 victory.

In action against the Brampton Thunder (Photo credit: Marc St. Pierre)

In action against the Brampton Thunder (Photo credit: Marc St. Pierre)

Emmanuelle Blais would open the scoring in the first period as she slipped the puck past Brampton backstop Sonja van der Bliek. Although it would be the only goal of the period, van der Bliek was tested often as she faced 14 shots and four Montreal power plays.

Simply 56 seconds into the second stanza, Ann-Sophie Bettez would add to the Stars lead. Of note, she has scored in every Stars contest since the season began. Blais and Vanessa (Vinny Davidson) would earn the helpers. Although Brampton would be on the penalty kill three times in the stanza, the red and black had managed to keep Breton-Lebreux off the scoreboard.

As the third period opened with Lindsay Vine serving a holding penalty, the Stars would capitalize through one of the most exciting goals of the season. Scoring at the 39 second mark, Breton-Lebreux logged the goal that would see her reach the magical century mark in her storied career. Earning the assists on the historic marker were Sara Dagenais and Carly Hill. To a roar of approval from the fans in attendance, it was a moment of validation, proving that Breton’s efforts in helping to launch the franchise and the league had yielded ground breaking results.

Despite the fact that Brampton would spoil the moment ten seconds later as Sarah Moe snapped Catherine Herron’s bid for a shutout, Montreal was not going to relinquish their lead. Before the period would expire, Blais would contribute her second goal and third point of the game.

With one of the assists credited to Cathy Chartrand, it symbolized a true passing of the torch. As Breton-Lebreux was the first captain in Stars history, and the longest serving in CWHL history, she had selected Chartrand to succeed her as captain prior to the beginning of this season.

For fans of the Montreal Stars, making history has been a predominant theme in Breton-Lebreux’s Hall of Fame worthy career. As the CWHL co-founder and first captain to claim the Clarkson Cup, she has proven to be a remarkable modern day builder for the sport in Montreal.

Along with the remarkable contributions of former coach Patrick Rankine, Breton-Lebreux has transformed the Montreal Stars into the world’s greatest women’s hockey team. With a renaissance of women’s hockey at the university level in Montreal, it has marked a golden era in the game for the hockey mad city and a legacy complemented by Breton’s tireless efforts.

Red Bull Crashed Ice world champion Fannie Desforges logs first career point in CWHL play

Having established herself as one of the world’s finest competitors in Red Bull Crashed Ice, Fannie Desforges is extending her status as a two-sport star to the frozen perimeter of the CWHL. The Red Bull Crashed Ice world champion in 2012, she would finish the 2013 competition in third place. Ironically, her newest teammate on the Montreal Stars, Dominqiue Thibault, would claim the world title in 2013.

A December 1 road contest against the Brampton Thunder would provide Desforges with an early holiday gift. Earning an assist on Cathy Chartrand’s shorthanded goal, it would be the first point in what will hopefully emerge as the beginning of a storied career.

In action with the Montreal Stars (Photo credit: Marc St. Amour)

In action with the Montreal Stars (Photo credit: Marc St. Amour)

With Marieve Provost serving a penalty for hooking (one of ten total penalties in an unruly second), Desforges and Carly Dupont-Hill set up Chartrand for a short-handed tally at the 18:16 mark of the second stanza. Said goal would provide Montreal with its second lead of the game.

Although Brampton would eventually tie the contest and prevail in a shootout, earning the first point is a milestone in any player’s career. Considering the number of rookies this season, there shall be many more milestones to come. Of note, Desforges will now be aiming for her first career goal in a series with the Calgary Inferno on December 14 and 15.

Selected in the seventh round of the 2013 CWHL Draft, the first assist is a tremendous confidence booster for the dynamic Desforges. Having had a stellar career with the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees, where she served as captain, her leadership skills shall be essential for a Montreal team looking to redeem itself after a shocking Clarkson Cup loss in March.

Through the first five games of her career, Desforges has provided the red, white and blue with solid disciplined play. Having only served two penalty minutes, her play is complemented by a +2 rating. As the Stars have over 10 rookies on the team, the chemistry should only improve heading into the new year. Should Desforges return to her point per game clip that made her such a competitor in CIS play, it will benefit everyone on the new-look Stars.

Danielle Boudreau’s first career CWHL goal holds even greater meaning

With Brampton visiting Boston for the first game of the 2013-14 CWHL season, it brought with it a sense of renewed optimism. As both teams have rebuilt through the draft after having lost several superstar members of their rosters for the golden dream of the Sochi Winter Games, fans at ISCC Simsbury Olympic rink were treated to a new generation of stars.

As the frozen perimeter brought with it fresh faces and established snipers at the NCAA level such as Brampton’s first-round pick Jess Jones and Boston’s Casey Pickett, who once played in an outdoor game at Fenway Park, fans were anticipating which player would log the first goal of the season.

Ironically, it would be a stay-at-home defender with great humility and a team-first approach that would log the magical first goal of the season. Danielle Boudreau, selected in the third round, 13th overall by Brampton would bury the puck past Alissa Fromkin. Ironically, the first goal scored in the 2012-13 season was also scored by a rookie, Sara Dagenais of the Montreal Stars.

One of the biggest goals of her life would be scored at the 9:28 mark of the first with assists going to long-time CWHL vet Jennifer Kirk and Kelly Hart. With experience as an alternate captain (with Clarkson), Boudreau has the potential to provide solid leadership for the rebuilding Brampton club. Complemented by shot blocking as the favorite aspect of her game, it may not be the last time this season fans hear her name.

Having carved a solid career at the NCAA level with the Clarkson Golden Knights, the Whitby native won Clarkson’s Ron Frazer Award (presented to a player who has elevated her game in key situations). Having logged 32 points in 150 career games, her last NCAA goal would come on December 3, 2011 versus Union, while her final points were a pair of assists on February 3, 2012 against Brown.

While Jill Cardella and Casey Pickett (also logging her first career CWHL goal in her debut) would score in the second stanza as Boston eventually prevailed, Boudreau’s goal was part of a valiant effort in which Brampton is ready to recapture the glory days of old. With parity being the theme of this new season, every team has an opportunity to surprise and compete for the most coveted prize in women’s hockey. Just like the first goal of the season, the last goal to win the Clarkson may be from the unlikeliest of stars.

Brittany Ott shines in CWHL debut for Boston Blades

After a stellar four-year career with the University of Maine Black Bears, Brittany Ott is graduating to women’s pro hockey. Having rewritten many Black Bears goaltending records, Ott will be essential for the Boston Blades ambitions of repeating as Clarkson Cup champions.

With the absence of backstops Genevieve Lacasse and Molly Schaus to their respective national centralization camps (in preparation for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games), the Blades were faced with a significant gap between the pipes. The selection of Ott in the 2013 CWHL Draft may prove to be just the remedy they require.

Ott had her opportunity to start for the Blades in the second game of the 2013-14 Canadian Women’s Hockey League season. A Sunday afternoon tilt on November 3 would signify the first game of her Blades career. Competing against opposing goalie Jamie Miller of the Brampton Thunder at Boss Ice Arena, it would not take long for the Blades to provide Ott with a lead.

At the 2:48 mark of the first frame, Jill Cardella scored to give the black and gold an early lead. Only 13 seconds later, Brampton’s first round pick Jess Jones would become the answer to a trivia question as she scored the first goal on Ott in CWHL play.

After close to 11 minutes of scoreless play, Jessica Koizumi would regain the lead for Boston. With 20 seconds left, rookie Rachel Llanes would score with assists going to Blake Bolden and Ashley Cottrell. Going into intermission, the Blades enjoyed a 3-1 lead as Ott only faced six shots.

The second stanza would find Ott tested for the first time in her CWHL career. With penalties to Koizumi and Maggie Taverna within 31 seconds of each other, Brampton enjoyed a 5-on-3 power play opportunity. Showing great poise in the crease, Ott nullified the advantage as Brampton went scoreless.

While Brampton outshot Boston by a 9-8 count in the second, it was Boston that would continue to place the biscuit in the basket. Goals by rookie Casey Pickett and first round pick Jillian Dempsey showed that a bright future is ahead for these two promising stars.

Although Lindsay Vine would manage to score on Ott in the final frame, the Blades cruised to a 7-2 victory. With Boston having peppered Miller with 43 shots, Ott only had to face 21 shots from the beleaguered Brampton squad. Despite the Blades having lost over a dozen players due to centralization or retirement, Ott and fellow rookie Alissa Fromkin have the goaltending situation in good hands.