PWHL ignites new Montreal-Boston sports rivalry: Their first playoff game Thursday

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It’s been a memorable inaugural season for the Professional Women’s Hockey League.

PWHL Montreal set a New Women’s Hockey Attendance record last month –- with more than 21,000 fans at the Bell Centre for their duel with Toronto.

Now, they’re getting ready for the playoffs.

The team battles Boston Thursday night at Laval’s Place Bell — igniting a new Montreal-Boston sports rivalry.

PWHL Montreal’s practice on May 8, 2024 at the Verdun Auditorium one day before they battle Boston in the playoffs. (Credit: Pamela Pagano/CityNews)

“They’re physical,” said Marie-Philip Poulin, PWHL Montreal captain. “I think that’s something we’ve got to be aware of.”

“When you chip a puck in,” she added. “They don’t get to let you go by.”

CityNews was at the team’s practice in the Verdun Auditorium on Wednesday — all working towards winning the Walter Cup.

Marie-Philip Poulin at the Verdun Auditorium on May 8, 2024. (Credit: Pamela Pagano/CityNews)

“That’s what we wanted,” said Poulin. “We wanted to clinch the playoff spot at home and that’s what we did.”

“I don’t know how many teams actually like Boston in any sport,” added Kori Cheverie, PWHL Montreal’s head coach. “I don’t think they’re well liked.”

“But, you know, Court Kessel, the coach on the other side, we’re really good friends.”

“I obviously wish her and her team all the best,” she said. “But I wish our team better, and she knows that too.”

PWHL Montreal’s head coach, Kori Cheverie, at the Verdun Auditorium on May 8, 2024. (Credit: Pamela Pagano/CityNews)

“To be able to clench second place,” said Laura Stacey, PWHL Montreal forward. “To get home ice advantage is something we fought for all year long.”

PWHL Toronto selected Minnesota as its first-round opponent.

Toronto, as the No. 1 seed, earned their right to select their opponent from the third- and fourth-place finishers: Boston and Minnesota.

This left Montreal with Boston.

PWHL Montreal player, Laura Stacey, at the Verdun Auditorium on May 8, 2024. (Credit: Pamela Pagano, CityNews)

“I grew up with obviously the heated rivalry,” explained Jillian Dempsey, PWHL Montreal player.

Dempsey has played lots of Hockey in Boston — having grown up in the Greater Boston Area.

“It’s definitely going to bring a competitive edge,” she added.

Laura Stacey at PWHL Montreal’s practice in the Verdun Auditorium on May 8, 2024. (Credit: Pamela Pagano/CityNews)

The postseason starts tonight for Toronto-Minnesota.

Each series will be a best-of-five.

“I think you approach every single game the same way you do whether its playoff, regular season, exhibition, whatever,” said Ann-Renée Desbiens, PWHL Montreal goaltender.

“I’m a sore loser, I hate losing,” she added, laughing. “I wont change my preparation.”

PWHL Montreal player, Madison Bizal, at the teams practice in the Verdun Auditorium on May 8, 2024. (Credit: Pamela Pagano/CityNews)

“In a season obviously you have couple games where we lose,” said Poulin. “We don’t have time here.”

“It’s tomorrow,” she added. “Getting ready to go right away when the puck drop and go from there.”

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