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Kori Cheverie and her players say they are ready and impatient to get the series started

Five players from the Montreal team and head coach Kori Cheverie took turns parading in front of a group of journalists on Wednesday afternoon and if we had to summarize the essence of their message in a few key words, it would be as follows: “we are ready,” “we can’t wait”, “we’re excited”, “we can’t wait to play in front of our fans”.

“We’re ready. Yes, we’re ready” were the first words Cheverie said when asked if it was time for the Professional Women’s Hockey League semifinal between her practice and Boston’s.

This series starts on Thursday evening at Place Bell in front of, once again, an impressive audience in the Laval amphitheater. The scenario of a full house has not been ruled out for Thursday’s match, and as of Wednesday afternoon it was all but confirmed for the second match, Saturday evening.

“I can’t wait any longer, especially after what we had here, what we had at Place Bell, what we had at the Bell Center,” forward Laura Stacey admitted after the final practice. full team training, held on the second ice of the Auditorium du Verdun, on the eve of the opening game.

“Of course it is something very special to have this opportunity, to be able to confirm second place and to have achieved home ice advantage. We fought for that all year long. We’re going to cherish this moment, we’re going to enjoy it, and we’re going to do everything we can to make this crowd as loud as possible. »

Cheverie admitted that she is looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere of a play-off match in the Montreal area and she is confident that her players will benefit from the support of their fans, especially after this first campaign that exceeded all expectations of the organization surpassed on the field. ticket counters.

“I think our fans are the most important thing. When I think back to the Bell Center game, I had the impression that when the puck dropped, we were winning that game. I’m convinced the fans were about the seventh player on the ice pushing us forward. I can’t wait to see what the playoff atmosphere can be like in Montreal after the regular season was quite exceptional. »

A sequel to Saturday?

Another word came up often in the comments of the Montreal team’s speakers in anticipation of the game against Boston: toughness.

This feeling is reinforced by the fact that the two teams were in an uphill battle last Saturday as they played their final part of the regular season in very different contexts.

Cheverie’s troops arrived at the Tsongas Center confident they would finish in second place, neither higher nor lower. Boston, for its part, needed a regular-time win to qualify for the playoffs.

Boston won 4-3 with a late goal in the third period after letting a 3-0 lead slip after 40 minutes.

The intensity was so high that Stacey almost got into a fight with a rival. During her press conference Wednesday, Cheverie admitted she had some fears.

“Of course I was afraid for the players. You want them to play a good game, you want to get them ready for the play-offs. (Le match) had no meaning in terms of ranking, but it did in terms of morality. As a coach, I was pleased with the fact that we worked hard in the third period or the way it ended. »

Goalkeeper Ann-Renée Desbiens also expects to see similarities with Saturday’s match on Thursday evening.

“Saturday’s game is unique in that Boston had everything to play for, even though we already knew where we were (au classement). It is certain that it is a different perspective for the two teams,” Desbiens first underlined.

“During the game we saw that they were very physical, that they were ready to complete all their checks, while for us it may have taken a while to realize that competitive hockey was being played. Yes, their intensity and their toughness are things that will take them to the playoffs, there’s no doubt about that. It will be up to us to do the same. »

In the final standings, Montreal finished with 41 points, six more than Boston, but the two teams split the honors from their four clashes. Moreover, the Boston team has won four of the last five games and lost the other in extra time, a detail that does not escape the notice of captain Marie-Philip Poulin.

“To be able to get four three-point wins that they needed, I take my hat off to what they did because they totally deserve it,” Poulin said. But the series is a new season. We will have to be ready tomorrow and the team that focuses on the details will win. »

“I think they’re playing with a greater sense of urgency,” Cheverie said when asked to compare Boston to the club she saw in the first half of the season. »

“There is talent, but it didn’t seem like it was clicking.” But in the last game they played with a great sense of urgency to make the play-offs. That’s what stands out, that and their robustness. »

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