St-Pierre backstops Montreal to Clarkson Cup title
Vaillancourt named tournament MVP
A year between Clarkson Cup titles did Montreal some good.
After falling in the semifinals last season, Montreal once again reached the pinnacle of women's club hockey with a 5-0 win over Toronto on Sunday in Barrie, Ont.
Kim St-Pierre turned aside all 26 shots she faced for the shutout win.
"We were so disappointed with last year's result," said Montreal forward Caroline Ouellette. "The whole way through this tournament, we had so much confidence and so much fun together. In the end, I think that made the difference."
Ouellette, Dominique Thibault, Sarah Vaillancourt, Noemie Marin and Vanessa Davidson scored for Montreal, which went through the tournament undefeated.
Sami Jo Small made 46 saves for Toronto, which couldn't beat St-Pierre or Montreal's shot-blocking defence.
"The way [my defencemen] cleared the puck, moved it up the ice quickly, and cleared the front of the net made it easy for me," said St-Pierre.
It was a disappointing finish for Toronto captain Jennifer Botterill, who may have played her last competitive game.
"That's how I'm [leaning] right now," said Botterill, who retired from international play earlier this year.
Montreal won the inaugural Clarkson Cup in 2009. Last year's title went to Minnesota.
Sunday's game was put out of reach late in the third, when Julie Chu won a faceoff over to Ouellette, who wired a shot past Small to give Montreal a 4-0 lead.
Vaillancourt, who was named MVP of the Clarkson Cup, picked up an insurance marker with under three minutes remaining. She outwaited Small and beat her from just outside the crease.
Montreal took a 3-0 advantage in the second period thanks to some patience by Thibault.
After making her way around a Toronto defender, Thibault cut across the length of the crease, causing Small to commit. With the Toronto goaltender down and out, she lifted the puck into the top corner of the net.
The lead was nearly increased further, but Small made three saves on one-timers, including on a cross-crease pass to Vaillancourt.
Montreal came with some early pressure, throwing six shots on goal within the first three minutes of the contest, but Small held her ground.
Marin broke through after taking a pass from Ouellette and cutting in hard off the wing. Without much of an angle, she threw the puck at the goal and caught Small cheating slightly off of the post.
"Scoring the first today really helped us to build our confidence and play like we had been all season long," St-Pierre said.
Montreal doubled its lead later in the opening period after Davidson received a pass from Thibault and weaved her way in front of a screen. A low shot hit a deflection and beat Small low to the glove side to put Montreal ahead 2-0.