GAME RECAP: MINNESOTA DEFEATS BOSTON IN GAME 3, ONE WIN AWAY FROM CLAIMING WALTER CUP

SAINT PAUL, MN (May 24, 2024) – Taylor Heise and Michela Cava had a goal and an assist apiece as Minnesota defeated Boston 4-1 in Game 3 of the PWHL Finals at Xcel Energy Center on Friday night.  

 

Minnesota leads the best-of-five series 2-1. They are now one win away from being the first team to hoist The Walter Cup. Game 4 is Sunday at 5:00 p.m. CT/ 6:00 p.m. ET at Xcel Energy Center. 

 

Nicole Hensley started her second straight game for Minnesota and made 18 saves in the victory. The goaltender posted a shutout in Game 2.  

 

Heise opened the scoring for Minnesota just 59 seconds into the game. The rookie forward now has five goals in the postseason, all of which have been scored in her last four games played. She leads the PWHL Playoffs in scoring with seven points.  

 

The opening goal was assisted by Cava, who forechecked in the offensive zone and stole the puck behind Boston’s net. The forward passed the puck out front and Heise fired a shot over Aerin Frankel’s blocker to make the game 1-0.  

 

Cava and Heise combined again on Minnesota’s third goal, which made the game 3-1 at 3:29 of the third period. Heise rushed up the ice before delaying at the offensive blue line and passed the puck over to Cava, who weaved through three Boston players before tucking the puck in on the backhand.  

 

Alina Müller scored Boston’s lone goal, her first of the postseason, assisted by Susanna Tapani and Jamie Lee Rattray. The goal was scored with two seconds remaining in the second period to cut Boston’s deficit to 2-1.  

 

Sydney Brodt scored a first period goal to make it 2-0 at 17:38, which held as the game-winner. The tally was her first-ever PWHL goal—the forward spent the first 17 games of the regular season on LTIR.  

 

Grace Zumwinkle scored her first of the postseason— which was an empty net shorthanded goal, which sealed a 4-1 victory for Minnesota with 3:50 remaining in the third period. Boston had pulled Frankel to gain a 6-on-4 advantage with the score 3-1, but Zumwinkle gained possession in the defensive zone and charged down the ice, out-muscling two Boston players before sliding the puck into the open cage with one hand on her stick.   

 

Frankel, who celebrated her 25th birthday today, made 21 saves in the loss.  

 

Postgame Quotes: 

 

Minnesota forward Taylor Heise on her connection with Michela Cava – “We both think pretty similarly. I don’t think we’re always in the same place but we’re always looking for one another.  Kendall [Coyne Schofield] makes it easy too…We do talk things out a lot. I’m someone who likes to talk and Cava is too, and I think it’s fun for us to roll through things because you’re not always going to have time to practice in actual practice when you’re playing this many games. I just think that we have trust in each other, and we know where we’re going to be at.” 

 

Minnesota forward Michela Cava on playing on front of the home crowd: “Obviously it’s great. It’s a change for a lot of us, having so many people supporting our games, and the fans definitely elevate your energy levels when you’re feeling a little down. The crowds have been phenomenal all season for us and a big help when it’s been a long playoff and we’re all tired. We love them.” 

 

Boston defender Megan Keller: “I think all year long it’s been a journey for this team. We’re used to having to fight for every inch and the playoffs, finals, it’s a series and we have to find a way to turn the page here and learn from this game. We’ve got two more games coming up.” 

 

Boston Head Coach Courtney Kessel: “Minnesota has done a great job of setting up a trap after they score. They’ve done it in all three games [of the series]. We have to find a way to beat it, to get pucks in with possession and not chase the game.” 

 

Notes:   

  • Attendance: 9,054 – Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, MN. 
  • Three Stars: 1) Michela Cava 2) Taylor Heise 3) Sydney Brodt  
  • Shots ended 25-19 in favor of Minnesota – They led the shot count in the first (9-7) and second period (11-5) — Boston had the edge in the third (7-5). 
  • Boston’s 19 shots are the team’s lowest single game total of the playoffs. 
  • Kendall Coyne Schofield (MIN), Jamie Lee Rattray (BOS) and Sidney Morin (BOS) led all players with three shots apiece.  
  • Minnesota was 0/1 on the powerplay — Boston was 0/2. 
  • Minnesota has yet to allow a powerplay goal in the playoffs (16/16) — Boston has yet to score a powerplay in these playoffs (0/12). 
  • Megan Keller (BOS) led all players in time on ice at 25:23 – Sophie Jaques (MIN) led her team with 22:14 TOI. 
  • Lee Stecklein (MIN) led all players with a +3 rating. 
  • Heise’s goal scored 59 seconds into the game was the team’s quickest opening goal of the season – It was also the fastest goal scored in the PWHL Playoffs besting Cava’s at 4:38 in Game 1 of the series. 
  • Heise leads the PWHL Playoffs with three multi-point performances. 
  • Cava has scored in all three games of the PWHL Finals – She is second in playoff scoring with six points (3G, 3A). 
  • Brodt scored her first PWHL goal in her 15th game between regular-season and playoffs and on her fourth shot on goal. 
  • Brittyn Fleming celebrated her 25th birthday by recording her first point of the playoffs with an assist on Brodt’s goal. 
  • Including the regular season, Grace Zumwinkle now has three shorthanded tallies on the year, the most of any PWHL player –– Her third period ‘jailbreak’ goal was just the second shorthanded marker of the playoffs.  
  • Brodt and Zumwinkle bring Minnesota’s number of playoff goal scorers to nine, which is the most of any team in the postseason. 
  • Minnesota scored four goals for the second time in the playoffs – They scored four goals three times in the regular-season including once in a shootout victory. 
  • Minnesota remains undefeated at home in the playoffs (3-0) — Boston loses their first road game of the playoffs (2-1). 

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