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Toronto sets women's hockey mark with 19K fans

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Published in Hockey
Friday, 16 February 2024 21:29

TORONTO -- Kristen Campbell made 30 saves in front of a women's hockey-record crowd of 19,285 fans at Scotiabank Arena, helping Toronto beat Montreal 3-0 on Friday night in the Professional Women's Hockey League.

"The Battle on Bay Street" broke the attendance record of 18,013 set at the 2013 world championships in Ottawa, Ontario, for a preliminary round game between Canada and Finland. Minnesota set the previous PWHL mark of 13,316 for its home opener against Montreal on Jan. 6 at Xcel Energy Center.

"It just shows that demand for women's hockey and women's sport." Campbell said after the team's first game at the home of the NHL's Maple Leafs. "Playing in this venue was something that we're always going to cherish for the rest of our lives."

Jesse Compher, Hannah Miller and Victoria Bach -- into an empty net -- scored in the third period to help Toronto (6-5-0) win its fourth straight. Ann-Renee Desbiens stopped 21 shots for Montreal (6-2-2).

"To see the amount of signs in the stands, to see little girls, little boys, families coming up, it's unbelievable," Montreal star Marie-Philip Poulin said. "What's happening in women's hockey right now, it's surreal and we all take it in with a big smile."

Compher opened the scoring at 5:11 of the third with a shot over Desbiens' shoulder. Miller made it 2-0 with 4:39 remaining, firing a wrist between Desbiens' legs. Bach scored with 4:07 left with Desbiens off for an extra attacker.

Canadian women's basketball team star Kia Nurse, the cousin of PWHL Toronto star Sarah Nurse, performed the ceremonial puck drop.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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