PWHL Minnesota will head back to the Six after tying the series at two apiece

Minnesota salutes their fans inside the Xcel Energy Center. LPH PHOTOS BY MIKE THILL

Coon Rapids’ own Claire Butorac plays hero as PWHL Minnesota takes down Toronto 1-0 in a double-overtime thriller. After losing the first two games of the series in Toronto, Minnesota responded with two consecutive shutout wins of their own and will take the series back to The Six. 

The State of Hockey showed up in a big way for PWHL Minnesota, helping their squad avoid elimination on Monday with a 2-0 win over Toronto, followed by an overtime thriller on Wednesday. Former Andover Huskie Maddie Rooney has been a rock in the net for the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and she has stepped up even more after returning to her hometown, stopping all 18 shots she faced on Monday. Continuing her dominance, Rooney was a brick wall again Wednesday evening, stopping all 19 shots she faced and completing back-to-back shutouts. 

Maddie Rooney has put up back-back shutouts in Minnesota’s two series wins.

Minnesota’s defense was next level on Wednesday too, allowing no more than six shots on goal in all five periods including the two overtime frames. They helped out their star goaltender with eight blocked shots in the contest. Toronto’s netminder Kristen Campbell did everything she could, stopping 28 of 29, including a third period where Minnesota fired 14 shots in the third period. 

Toronto was the better team in the first overtime period, outshooting Minnesota 6-5, but Rooney came up big again for Minnesota, stopping everything that came her way. Minnesota survived the surge from Toronto, remaining tied 0-0 after the first OT frame. 

It took just over four minutes and one shot for Minnesota to find the back of the net as Butorac scored her first goal of the season to give Minnesota the 1-0 win. Butorac a former 155-point scorer in high school, and five year starter for Minnesota State University is the hero that Minnesota needed, and she hopes to keep the scoring going on Friday.

Claire Butorac nets her first career professional goal dramatically.

Liz Schepers was credited with the primary assist, her third of the playoffs, and Sophie Jaques, a trade acquisition midway through the season was given the secondary helper on the game-winning goal. 

Rooney improved her playoff record to 2-1 with two shutouts and 65 total saves. She now holds an incredible .985 Sv% and a 0.29 GAA through three career PWHL playoff games. 

PWHL Minnesota celebrates the game-winning goal after Butorac’s goal.

PWHL Minnesota will return to The Six with a two-game winning streak to face Toronto in a game-five showdown on Friday at 7 p.m.