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Ottawa scores first goal, but comes up short in historic PWHL home opener

It was a historic night of hockey at the TD Place Arena on Tuesday night, with 8,318 fans setting a North American professional women’s hockey record.

A scoreless first period turned into a 3-2 thrilling overtime win for PWHL Montreal after Kristin O’Neill got the sudden-death goal against Ottawa in the nation’s capital.

But Ottawa’s fans still loved what they saw, after the team got the first goal on the board and the first in its franchise history with a late second period stunner by Hayley Scamurra.

In a night of many firsts, it was the first goal for a PWHL home team, after Toronto wasn’t able to get on the board at the league’s debut game on New Year’s Day. With two games in the book for the new league, a team still hasn’t won at home.

An aggressive defensive game from both teams kept the game scoreless for nearly two periods. Ottawa fans had a close call early in the second period when a goal from Mikyla Grant-Mentis was overturned after it was determined that the puck went in under the net.

Scamurra came back to save the cheers from Ottawa fans, who got the historic power-play goal at 16:23.

Montreal returned strong for the sold-out crowd, with Claire Dalton scoring the team’s first franchise goal just over a minute later to tie to the game 1-1 just before the end of the period.

A goal by Katerina Mrazova for Ottawa five minutes into the third period gave Ottawa fans some hope, only for the game to be tied again with a Montreal goal from Laura Stacey.

The game went into the league’s first-ever overtime, with Ann-Sophie Bettez from Montreal scoring the game winning goal.

Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe, U.S ambassador to Canada David Cohen and Japanese ambassador Kanji Yamanouchi were in attendance.

Former uOttawa and Carleton University hockey coach Shelley Coolidge dropped the puck with Sutcliffe.

Ottawa’s PWHL team will play 24 games during its inaugural season, with the season running from Jan. 2 to May 5.

There are six original teams in the PWHL: Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Minnesota, Boston and New York.

Ottawa will head to Boston for that team’s debut home game on Monday, Jan. 8 at 6 p.m. EST.

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