by Mark Staffieri
Despite the absence of several players competing at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, the Montreal Stars have shone in CWHL play so far this season, and one player who has helped keep them light up the scoreboard is Vanessa (Vinny) Davidson.
Heading into a recent weekend series against the Brampton Thunder, Davidson of Pointe-Claire, Que., had 96 points in her CWHL career.
Fans in attendance at the Centre Sportif Louis Cyr on Feb. 8 witnessed history. With a four-point output at the hands of Brampton, Davidson now has the distinction of having reached the century mark, or 100 points total over her CWHL career thus far.
Although Montreal marched out to a 3-0 lead in the first frame, which included seven different Stars players logging at least one point, Davidson had yet to appear on the score sheet. At the 1:51 mark of the second stanza, the race to 100 would begin, as Davidson earned an assist on a goal by CWHL scoring leader, and former McGill Martlets teammate, Ann-Sophie Bettez.
Five minutes and 47 seconds after logging her first point of the game, Davidson scored on backstop Erika Vanderveer. With Andie LeDonne serving two minutes for body-checking, it would also stand as a power play goal, providing Montreal with the 5-0 advantage.
Although Brampton closed out the second with a goal by longtime competitor Jennifer Kirk, the momentum was clearly in Montreal’s favour. After another of Davidson’s former McGill teammates, Alyssa Cecere, added to the lead with her second goal of the season, the third period would belong to Davidson.
Davidson slipped the puck past Vanderveer at the 11:02 mark, giving her 99 points total. With the roar of the crowd behind her, Davidson would not be denied. Merely two minutes and 14 seconds later, she scored again on the power play, logging the hat trick and notching point No. 100.
The assists on the historic goal were credited to Sarah Vaillancourt and Cathy Chartrand, while Vanderveer was the goalie of record. Fittingly, Davidson, Vaillancourt and Chartrand were named the Three Stars of the Game.
While Montreal emerged with an 8-1 victory, the weekend belonged to Davidson. In the following game against Brampton, Davidson logged two more points, as she finished her weekend with 102 career points. Perhaps the most impressive statistic is the fact that whenever Davidson has logged a point during the 2013-14 CWHL season, the Stars have enjoyed a sparkling 11-0-0 mark.
“It’s quite an honour to have hit this milestone,” Davidson said. “To be considered a part of this group of elite members who have reached this milestone is simply incredible, and truly shows me how much hard work can be rewarded.
“I could not have achieved this goal without the support of my teammates and linemates, and without the guidance and influence of my coaches over the years,” she said.
Of note, she is the second Stars member this season to be part of the 100-point club. Stars founder and CWHL co-founder Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux became the first Montreal player this season to reach the coveted milestone.
Along with Davidson and Breton, four other Stars players have accumulated at least 100 points in their career. Caroline Ouellette, the all-time leading scorer in franchise history, has 218 points. Three-time Clarkson Cup champion Noemie Marin has 176 points. Joining them includes a pair of former Angela James Bowl winners, Sabrina Harbec with 139 points) and Meghan Agosta-Marciano with 126 points total.
Teammate Emmanuelle Blais is also within reach of the century mark. Just six points away, should she manage to emulate the feat of Breton and Davidson, it would mark the first time in franchise history that three Stars players reached the 100-point club in the same season.
One of the league’s top scorers, Davidson’s presence has not only bolstered the Stars offense, but established it as perhaps the league’s finest. Although the franchise faced a significant loss of star power during the season; the impact of players such as Davidson is testament to the depth and talent on this remarkable CWHL franchise.