PWHL Finals: Minnesota drubs Boston in Game 3, can win title on Sunday at Xcel

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In a span of less than three weeks, Minnesota’s fortunes in the Professional Women’s Hockey League have gone from near catastrophe to being on the cusp of capturing the inaugural PWHL championship.

Nicole Hensley

The Walter Cup will be in the building on Sunday as Minnesota looks to close out Boston after taking a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five Finals on Friday at Xcel Energy Center with a 4-1 victory. An announced crowd of 9,054 was in a festive mood from the start, and the home team did not disappoint.

After squeaking into the playoffs despite losing its last five games of the regular season, Minnesota soon found itself down two games to none against top-seeded Toronto in the first round. Since then, Minnesota has gone 5-1 and has looked every bit the part of the team that was among the league’s elite for most of the season.

Minnesota took a 2-0 lead into the locker room after the first period and controlled play for most the night. Minnesota outshot Boston 25-19.

Nicole Hensley got her second straight start in goal for Minnesota after earning the shutout in Game 2. While she wasn’t tested often, she was called upon to make a handful of key saves.

Minnesota needed only 59 seconds to take a 1-0 lead. Michela Cava stole the puck behind the Boston net and centered it into the slot. Taylor Heise jumped on the loose puck and fired a wrist shot past Boston goaltender Aerin Frankel for her fifth goal of the postseason.

Sydney Brodt made it 2-0 at 17:38. Brittyn Fleming circled the Boston net with the puck before attempting a stuff shot. Frankel was there for the stop, but Brodt poked in the loose puck in the slot for her first goal and first point in the playoffs.

Boston scored the only goal in the second period, and it came with two seconds to play. Alina Muller pounced on a loose puck in front of the Minnesota net and fired it past Hensley.

Michela Cava

The goal changed the complexion of the game, but only briefly. Cava scored a huge goal at 3:27 of the third period to give Minnesota a 3-1 lead. After taking a cross-ice pass from Heise at center ice, Cava stick-handled past two defenders before slipping the puck past Frankel for her third goal of the playoffs.

Hensley made a big save on a point-blank shot with just over six minutes to play that led to the crowd chanting her last name in appreciation.

Boston went on a power play at 15:37 and elected to pull its goalie. The move backfired, however, when Grace Zumwinkle poked the puck out of the Minnesota zone, outraced two defenders and slid the puck into the empty net as she was being dragged down.

Zumwinkle slid into the back of the net just after the puck crossed the goal line.


The PWHL announced prior to the game that the draft will be held June 10 at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul. The PWHL Awards will take place the following afternoon inside the Great River Ballroom at the InterContinental St. Paul Riverfront Hotel. Tickets to the draft are free and will become available on May 29.

There are 20 Minnesotans playing in the PWHL, and 16 of them are competing in the PWHL Finals.

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