GAME RECAP: BOSTON TOPS MINNESOTA ON THE BACK OF AERIN FRANKEL’S 41-SAVE SHUTOUT

SAINT PAUL, MN (February 25, 2024) – Aerin Frankel made 41 saves to secure her first shutout of the season, sealing a 2-0 victory for her team in front of 10,186 fans at Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota on Sunday afternoon.

 

Frankel’s shutout came despite Boston being outshot in each of the game’s three periods, including 15-7 in the third as Minnesota tried to tie the game, down by one. The 24-year-old now has back-to-back regulation wins and improves her season save percentage to .940 with a 1.72 goals-against-average.

 

Minnesota came out flying Sunday afternoon, looking to keep pace with PWHL Montréal—the two teams have been playing leapfrog for first place overall all season long —putting pressure on Boston right from puck drop.

 

Frankel was forced to make several big saves as Minnesota dominated in shots on goal early, leading 13-1 in that category at one point. A Boston powerplay late in the frame gave the visitors a spark, as they sent 10 shots to the Minnesota net in the last seven minutes, but goaltender Nicole Hensley turned away each one, sending both teams to their dressing rooms scoreless after the first.

 

Frankel stayed locked in as the second period went on, making saves on multiple grade-A scoring chances, including a 2-on-1 where she went post-to-post to get a glove on a shot by Minnesota’s Abby Boreen. Boreen signed her second 10-day Standard Player Agreement of the season today after it was announced that forward Taylor Heise was placed on LTIR.

 

Despite being outshot, Boston struck first midway through the second period when forward Susanna Tapani picked up a stretch pass from Jamie Lee Rattray, drew the defender to her and then slid the puck over to linemate Theresa Schafzahl just inside the blue line. Schafzahl then took the puck to the net and cut across the crease, outwaiting Hensley and depositing the puck behind her outstretched pad for the 1-0 lead at 8:39 of the second period. The goal is Schafzahl’s third of the season.

 

Minnesota kept the pressure on for the duration of the third period, sending a further 15 shots towards the Boston net in the frame. With Hensley on the bench for the extra attacker for the final 90 seconds, Minnesota was able to create several quality scoring chances, but Frankel remained a brick wall.

 

Boston iced the game at 19:52 of the third when Minnesota native Gigi Marvin pounced on an errant pass with just eight seconds to go, sending a wrister into the empty net from the attacking blue line for her first career PWHL goal.

 

Hensley made 21 saves in the loss. She entered the game third-best among goaltenders with a .938 save percentage and is now tied for third with Frankel for with a mark of .940.

 

Minnesota remains three points back from first-place Montréal at 21, while Boston leapfrogs New York into fourth place in the league standings with 18 points.

 

Up next, Minnesota takes on Toronto on Tuesday night at 3M Arena at Mariucci. Boston’s next action is against Montréal on Saturday at Verdun Auditorium.

 

Postgame Quotes:

 

Boston head coach Courtney Kessel on what the key was to the win: “Aerin Frankel. Honestly, she stood on her head for us. We had quite a few shots against and I’m not sure we should’ve come out with that one, but we’ll take it.”

 

Minnesota head coach Ken Klee on the game: “Their goalie played great. It certainly wasn’t a lack of our team trying. We just couldn’t close out. We had great looks most of the night that just weren’t going in for us so we just [have to] keep working. Hockey’s not always kind that way.”

 

Minnesota alternate captain Kelly Pannek on losing despite putting up 41 shots: “Sometimes it’s just not your night but I think the fact that we put 40 shots on net —and I felt like we were consistent throughout three periods of getting pucks to the net, at least giving ourselves a chance. It’s hard when you don’t score in a game but thankfully we have another chance on Tuesday.”

 

Notes:

 

  • Attendance: 10,186 — Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, MN.
  • Three Stars 1) Aerin Frankel 2) Theresa Schafzahl 3) Nicole Hensley
  • Minnesota’s 15 first period shots are tied for the most by a team in any first period this season.
  • Minnesota defender Sophie Jaques led all players with eight shots on goal — Teammate Kendall Coyne Schofield was second with six.
  • Jamie Lee Rattray led all Boston players in shots with four — Loren Gabel and Shiann Darkangelo were second on the team with three each.
  • Boston was 0/1 on the powerplay — Minnesota was 0/4.
  • The teams have the bottom two powerplays in the PWHL with just two goals scored on the advantage — Boston is fifth at 6.9% and Minnesota is sixth at 5.9%.
  • Boston is now 4-for-4 in games that they’ve scored the first goal.
  • The empty net goal was Boston’s first of the season.
  • Boston defender Megan Keller’s point streak ends at four games.
  • The matchup was the first game between the two teams since the Feb. 11 trade that saw Sophie Jaques head from Boston to Minnesota in exchange for Susanna Tapani and Abby Cook.
  • Frankel is the fourth goaltender to record a shutout this season joining Corinne Schroeder (NY), Maddie Rooney (MIN), and Kristen Campbell (TOR)— Campbell is the only goaltender with multiple shutouts with two.
  • Frankel’s 41 saves are the most in a shutout victory this season and her season high.
  • Frankel now has the third-best goals-against-average in the PWHL, allowing just 1.72 goals-per-game—Hensley sits just behind her in fourth, with a 1.74 goals-against-average.
  • Hensley is the first PWHL goaltender to pick up a minor penalty — She was assessed a two-minute minor for tripping in the first period.
  • This is the first time Boston has won consecutive games in regulation – both by two goals.
  • The 2-0 final matches Toronto vs New York on Jan. 26 as the lowest score in a game this season.
  • This is the first time that Minnesota has been shutout this season.
  • Boston (4-2-2-4) now has 18 points and moves into fourth place, two points ahead of New York and five points ahead of Ottawa.
  • Minnesota (5-2-2-4) remains in second place with 21 points — They are two points ahead of Toronto and three ahead of Boston.
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