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Montreal Stars face off against Boston Blades in Clarkson Cup final

03/06/2015 03:50 EST | Updated 05/06/2015 05:59 EDT
In a re-match of the 2013 Clarkson Cup final, the Montreal Stars will meet the Boston Blades on Saturday to decide the champion of women's hockey.

It is the fifth time in seven seasons that Montreal will play for the championship.

But unlike past years, this wasn't a typical season of dominance from the Stars.

"We used to be one of the best teams from the get-go, but this year was a lot different," says Stars veteran and four-time Olympic gold medal winner Caroline Ouellette.

Montreal's roster had fewer Olympians than past years and instead featured more players who had recently graduated from university. They finished in third place after the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) regular season.

"We had a lot of struggles early in the season, we couldn't find ways to win... we might not have as much talent as the past years but we work so hard together, we believe in one another, and our team unity is strong," Ouellette said. 

Labonté dominates 

Montreal earned a spot in the finals thanks in large part to a dominating performance from goaltender Charline Labonté.

Labonté was perfect in the best-of-three semi-final series against the Calgary Inferno.

She stopped all 62 shots she faced as Montreal swept Calgary out of the playoffs. 

"As a team and as a player, you want to peak at the end of the season and I feel like that's what is going on," Labonté said. "It feels good, it feels like the hard work is being rewarded, but we still have one game left."

Labonté was named the CWHL's goaltender of the year for the regular season. 

Boston favoured in final

Montreal will face a stiff challenge in the one-game winner-take-all final. Boston was the top team in the CWHL this season including a 4-0 record against the Stars. But Labonté says she and her teammates don't mind being called underdogs. 

"They can call us whatever they want," Labonté said.

"The playoffs and the Clarkson Cup — it's a whole new season and the last two games we played against them were pretty even. It could have gone both ways. So if we're the underdogs, so be it."

If Montreal does win, it will be their fourth Clarkson Cup victory in franchise history. Boston is seeking its second championship. 

The Montreal Stars take on the Boston Blades for Clarkson Cup at 2 p.m. Saturday in Markham, Ont.  
 

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