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Nurse OT winner breaks Montreal hearts as Toronto wins PWHL 'Duel at the Top'

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Toronto's Sarah Nurse broke Montreal hearts 13 seconds into overtime whe she scored her second of the night in front of a record-setting PWHL crowd at the Bell Centre.

Toronto's 3-2 win makes it five for five wins against rivals Montreal and puts Toronto at the top of the table with 38 points, three ahead of Montreal and Minnesota.

The 21,105 fans who attended the game broke the record for attendance at a female hockey game set in Toronto at the Scotiabank Arena (home of the Toronto Maple Leafs) when 19,285 fans showed up on Feb. 16.

Before the inaugural PWHL season, the record for women's hockey was 18,013 in the IIHF Women's World Championship for a Canada-Finland preliminary gameand 16,805 in the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.

Fans of all ages waved towels, screamed and held signs reading "Girls Hockey Rules" and "2033 PWHL Draft Eligible" at the home of the NHL's most decorated team: The Montreal Canadiens. 

Montreal captain Marie-Philip Poulin, one of hockey's all-time greats, received a deafening standings ovation followed by chants of "Pou! Pou! Pou!" when introduced in the starting lineup.

The "Duel at the Top" was a back-and-forth scorcher.

Toronto's Blayre Turnbull opened the scoring in the first, but Montreal's Sarah Bujold equalized with under 20 seconds to go in the period.

Nurse put Toronto up early in the second, but a second late goal from Montreal from Erin Ambrose tied the game with 30 seconds remaining in the period.  

With no goals in the third, it was Nurse again who finished the game.

The win clinched a playoff birth for Toronto (10-4-0-7).

Toronto's Sarah Nurse (20) celebrates with teammate Emma Maltais (27) after scoring against Montreal during overtime period PWHL hockey action at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Saturday, April 20, 2024. (Graham Hughes, The Canadian Press)

With files from The Canadian Press.

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