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Sarah Nurse scores in OT to lift Toronto over Montreal 3-2 before record crowd

MONTREAL (AP) — Sarah Nurse scored twice, including in overtime, and Kristen Campbell made 37 saves as Toronto defeated Montreal 3-2 before a record crowd on Saturday.

The 21,105 attendance set a high-water mark for a women’s hockey game, exceeding the 19,285 set when the same two teams met at Scotiabank Arena on Feb. 16.

The previous record of 18,013 at the 2013 world championship in Ottawa stood for a decade before the PWHL started this year.

Fans of all ages — some hoisting signs that read “Girls Hockey Rules” and “2033 PWHL Draft Eligible” — waved white towels, wore flashing bracelets and roared throughout the afternoon at the home of the NHL’s Canadiens.

Montreal captain Marie-Philip Poulin, one of hockey’s all-time greats, received a deafening standings ovation followed by chants of “Pou! Pou! Pou!” when introduced in the starting lineup.

Toronto not only played spoiler, but also clinched a playoff berth with the victory.

Blayre Turnbull also scored for the league-leading visitors (10-4-0-7), who beat Montreal for a fifth time this season. Emma Maltais had two assists.

Erin Ambrose and Sarah Bujold replied for Montreal (8-3-5-5). Ann-Renée Desbiens, who received a raucous ovation of her own, made 30 saves.

Nurse received a pass from Renata Fast before firing a shot over Desbiens’ shoulder 13 seconds into the 3-on-3 overtime period.

Montreal had a chance to win late in regulation, jumping on the power play with 2:55 remaining in the third after Jocelyne Larocque tripped up Poulin, but couldn’t convert to break the 2-2 tie.

Montreal moved into a second-place tie with Minnesota, which played Ottawa on Saturday night.

Montreal dominated the shots 17-8 in the opening period.

Montreal signed Mikyla Grant-Mentis to a standard contract before the game. The 25-year-old forward joined Montreal as a reserve player and later signed a 10-day contract after she was released by Ottawa on Feb. 18. She has played four games for Montreal.

UP NEXT

Montreal: Hosts New York on Wednesday.

Toronto: Visits New York on April 28.

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AP women’s hockey: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-hockey

The Associated Press