GAME RECAP: BUTORAC SCORES WINNER IN DOUBLE OVERTIME AS MINNESOTA FORCES GAME 5

SAINT PAUL, MN (May 16, 2024) – Claire Butorac scored 4:27 into the second overtime period to lift Minnesota to a 1-0 victory against Toronto in Game 4 at Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday, a must-win game for her team. 

  

Minnesota entered the game down 2-1 in the best-of-five semifinal series and, with the win, forced a Game 5 back in Toronto on Friday.  

  

Butorac’s goal came after four straight scoreless periods, the longest stretch without a goal from opening puck drop in PWHL history. 

  

After Minnesota defender Sophie Jaques took a shot from the point that sailed wide, Liz Schepers shuffled the puck between her skates, sending a shot on net from behind the goal line. Kristen Campbell fought the puck off, but Butorac was on the doorstep to jam the rebound into the net, her first goal of the postseason.  

 

Maddie Rooney earned her second straight shutout after backstopping Minnesota to a 2-0 win in Game 3 of the series. The goaltender was named Minnesota’s starter in Game 2 after Nicole Hensley started the first game of the series.  

   

Minnesota outshot Toronto 29-19, including 14-2 in the third period.  

  

Campbell stood tall for her team in the final frame as Minnesota pushed to extend the series, making five saves in the final 2:45 to send the game to overtime. Through the first four games of the series, Campbell has only allowed three goals against, and has shut out Minnesota in 12 of 14 periods.  

 

Toronto won the first two games of the series with back-to-back shutout wins of their own, on home ice at Coca Cola Coliseum.  

 

Game 5 will take place at Coca-Cola Coliseum on Friday at 7 p.m. ET. The winner will face Boston — who completed a sweep against Montréal on Tuesday with their third straight overtime win in the series— in the PWHL Finals. 

 

Postgame Quotes: 

 

Minnesota forward Claire Butorac on her game-winning goal: “Honestly, my line did most of the work. I got in on that good change by the line before us and I picked up that rebound in front of the net.  We knew it was going to be a dirty goal, so I was just happy to finish.” 

  

Minnesota Head Coach Ken Klee: “When you [have] your season on the line and you’re back at home, that’s a good feeling. You can take it as pressure, or you can take it as we played well at home all year.  Breaking through in Game 3 was just good for our mental confidence and being excited to play hockey and knowing that we can win games.” 

  

Minnesota defender Sophie Jaques on the locker room heading into overtime – “I think we’ve just been keeping it light and keeping it fun– and just having so much confidence in ourselves and going out there with the excitement of getting to play hockey and wanting to score goals.” 

 

Toronto Head Coach Troy Ryan: “I think it was just a good battle. I thought the back-and-forth— I think it was physical, it was competitive, good goaltending on both sides. You know we said in between periods before that last overtime it’s probably going to be an ugly goal. Someone throwing it to the blue paint and whacking at it so, obviously they got to it before we did.” 

  

Toronto defender Renata Fast on if the physicality has ramped up in the playoffs: “Yeah, definitely. The hockey’s physical. You can tell that everyone’s amped it up a little bit. It’s playoffs, so you have to expect that. I think we’ve done a really good job initiating it, especially in the second period and I think as soon as we do that, it’s our style of game and we’re successful when we do that.” 

 

Notes: 

  • Attendance: 2,766 – Xcel Energy Center at Saint Paul, MN  
  • Three Stars: 1) Claire Butorac 2) Maddie Rooney 3) Kristen Campbell 
  • Shots ended 29-19 in favor of Minnesota – They led 5-3 in the first period and 14-2 in the third period – Toronto led in shots 6-4 in the second period, 6-5 in the first overtime, and 2-1 in the second overtime. 
  • Toronto recorded a season-low two shots in a period for the second straight game. 
  • Toronto’s 11 shots in regulation are the lowest in the PWHL this season. 
  • Taylor Heise (MIN) led all players with six shots on goal – Teammates Natalie Buchbinder and Grace Zumwinkle had four shots apiece. 
  • Minnesota was 0/3 on the powerplay – Toronto was 0/2. 
  • The teams are a combined 0/21 on the powerplay in the series. 
  • Jocelyne Larocque (TOR) led all players in ice time at 35:41 – Sophie Jaques (MIN) led her team with 34:24 TOI – Both players also led their teams in Game 3 TOI. 
  • Butorac scored one goal during the regular season on Mar. 16 in a 5-1 win over New York – She now has points in back-to-back playoff games. 
  • Butorac is the third overtime goal scorer in team history following Susanna Tapani (Jan. 17 vs OTT) and Abby Boreen (Jan. 28 vs NY). 
  • Rooney joins Campbell as the only goaltenders with back-to-back shutouts this season – Rooney now has four total shutouts to Campbell’s five. 
  • Rooney extends her shutout streak to 145:40. 
  • Liz Schepers recorded her third assist of the series and is tied for the playoff points lead.
  • This is the first 1-0 game in PWHL history. 
  • The game was scoreless for 84:27 which is the second longest goalless stretch within a single game of the PWHL Playoffs – Boston/Montréal went 89:46 between goals in Game 2 of their triple overtime final. 
  • All four games of the series have been shutouts by the home team – Four of seven games in the PWHL Playoffs have gone to overtime with an additional 91:38 played beyond regulation. 
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