Taylor Heise celebrates her fifth goal of the playoffs, a wrister from the high slot to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead 59 seconds into the game. LPH PHOTO BY GREG NAYMAN

Heise scores again in 4-1 win to take 2-1 series lead

Minnesota came out with a strong first period, scoring twice and holding on for a 4-1 win in Game 3 of the PWHL Finals to take a 2-1 series lead in front of more than 9,000 fans at the Xcel Energy Center Friday.

The win gives them a chance to clinch the first ever PWHL playoff final and claim the Walter Cup on Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center.

Taylor Heise got the scoring going when she picked up a loose puck in the high slot and fired a wrister past Aerin Frankel for a 1-0 lead. Michela Cava garnered the assists on the play which came just 59 seconds into the game. Heise leads all PWHL players with seven playoff points. Cava has six as Minnesota’s top line, which includes Kendall Coyne Schofield continues to gel.

“We both think pretty similarly,” said Heise. “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.” 

After 16 more minutes of play, former Mounds View High School star Sydney Brodt got on the scoring sheet with her first career PWHL goal. Brittyn Fleming , celebrating her 25th birthday Friday, carried the puck into the zone and around the back of the net where she attempted a wraparound. Frankel made the save, but Brodt was on the doorstep and buried the rebound for a 2-0 lead. Kelly Pannek also had an assist on the play.

Minnesota celebrates after Sydney Brodt’s first PWHL goal, a big one that gave Minnesota a 2-0 lead in the first period. LPH PHOTO BY GREG NAYMAN

Minnesota outshot Boston 11-5 in the second period, but Boston scored the lone goal when Alina Muller scored with just two seconds remaining in the period. But that was all Minnesota goalie Nicole Hensely would allow all night, stopping 18 shots to get the win. Minnesota outshot Boston 25-19 in the game.

In the third, Cava continued her torrid play with an ever-important goal to give Minnesota a 3-1 lead. Grace Zumwinkle netted an empty-netter to secure the win. Zumwinkle’s goal was her third short-handed goal of the season. She became the ninth player on the team to score in the playoffs, leading all teams.

The win gives Minnesota momentum heading into a potentially series-deciding Game 4 on home ice, where Minnesota has received strong support from fans.

“Obviously it’s great,” Cava said of the fan support. “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.”

More than 9,000 fans showed up to support PWHL Minnesota at the Xcel Energy Center Friday. Tickets are on sale for Sunday’s potentially series-deciding Game 4 (ticket link below). LPH PHOTO BY CHRISTINE WISCH .

 

Boxscore:

PWHL Boston 1 at PWHL Minnesota 4 – Status: Final
Friday, May 24, 2024 – Xcel Energy Center

Boston 0 1 0 – 1
Minnesota 2 0 2 – 4

1st Period-1, Minnesota, Heise 5 (Cava), 0:59. 2, Minnesota, Brodt 1 (Fleming, Pannek), 17:38. Penalties-Greco Min (interference), 7:41.

2nd Period-3, Boston, Müller 1 (Tapani, Rattray), 19:58. Penalties-No Penalties

3rd Period-4, Minnesota, Cava 3 (Heise), 3:29. 5, Minnesota, Zumwinkle 1   16:10 (SH EN). Penalties-Fratkin Bos (body checking), 7:17; Butorac Min (tripping), 15:37.

Shots on Goal-Boston 7-5-7-19. Minnesota 9-11-5-25.
Power Play Opportunities-Boston 0 / 2; Minnesota 0 / 1.
Goalies-Boston, Frankel (24 shots-21 saves). Minnesota, Hensley (19 shots-18 saves).
A-9,054
Referees-Jake Kamrass (3), Grace Barlow (22).
Linesmen-Shawn Oliver (56), Anthony Lapointe (78).

Game Recap: https://www.thepwhl.com/en/stats/game-center/96

Tickets for Game 4 can be purchased here: https://www.ticketmaster.com/event/0600607BD4855D76?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=PWHL&utm_content=push