GAME RECAP: HEISE SCORES WINNER, MINNESOTA DEFEATS TORONTO 4-1 TO CLINCH SPOT IN PWHL FINALS 

TORONTO, ON (May 17, 2024) – Taylor Heise scored the game-winning goal at 8:30 of the third period to propel Minnesota to a 4-1 victory on Friday at Coca-Cola Coliseum, clinching a spot in the PWHL Finals. 

 

Minnesota wins the semifinal series 3-2 after falling behind 2-0 after the first two games and will play Boston for the Walter Cup.  

 

Heise’s winner came on the powerplay with the game tied 1-1 in the third period. Minnesota’s first-overall pick wired a wrist shot from the top of the left circle over Kristen Campbell’s glove to give her team a 2-1 lead.  

 

The goal was Minnesota’s second powerplay marker of the game. Neither team had scored a powerplay goal entering Game 5, as both teams were a combined 0/21 on the advantage – Minnesota was 0/12. 

 

Minnesota’s first goal of the game – also a powerplay marker – was scored by Denisa Křižová at 7:29 of the second period, which gave the team a 1-0 lead.  

 

Toronto tied the game just 38 seconds later, as Victoria Bach fed Rebecca Leslie on a 2-on-1 rush. Leslie one-timed the puck over Maddie Rooney’s shoulder – Toronto’s first goal since Game 2.  

 

Sophia Kunin and Heise added an empty net goal each to make the game 4-1.  

 

Rooney made 27 saves, as the goaltender collected her third straight win. Campbell made 27 saves in the loss.  

 

Game 1 of the PWHL Finals presented by Scotiabank will take place between Minnesota and Boston on Sunday, May 19 at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, with the puck drop set for 5:00 p.m. ET.  

  

Postgame Quotes: 

 

Minnesota Head Coach Ken Klee on coming back from a 0-2 series deficit: “I thought Game 2 was the big change for us. We played the right way, stayed on top of pucks and battled. We had more compete than we’ve had. It started to grow from there and then as we went on, we just tried to go one game at a time, and said we just have to win today. These [players] did an unbelievable job and figured out a way.” 

 

Minnesota forward Taylor Heise on scoring the winning goal: “It’s cool and all but, at the end of the day, it’s fun to win as a team. Getting in the locker room and having our win song – coach [Klee] got a little emotional, I can’t lie – I think it’s fun to see that we had the belief in ourselves and I don’t think anyone else did, especially considering the way we ended [our season] and then getting the reverse sweep. I’m just really proud of our group and I’m excited to go to Boston.” 

 

Minnesota forward Grace Zumwinkle: “We didn’t end the season the way we wanted to, and we were the ones that thought we were an easy target heading into this playoff stretch. It’s just a huge testament to our team from first line to fourth line and everyone that’s on our roster. I think anyone can contribute on any given night, which you saw out there today.” 

 

Toronto Head Coach Troy Ryan: “Tough right now. We just had a brief chat as a group, and I think there’s so much to be proud of. I think, in reflection, we’re going to look back on this year and be very proud of what this group in Toronto accomplished, but even probably more proud about what the PWHL has accomplished. I said it to the group, I think they laid it all out on the ice tonight. They laid it on the line. Everybody competed and battled and gave us a chance to win that hockey game. So, I think, even tonight in a loss, there’s plenty to be proud of as well.” 

 

Toronto Captain Blayre Turnbull on the season: “I think it was unbelievable all season, regardless of what rink we played in, our fans showed up and cheered us on; even in the dark days early on, they supported us and they stuck with us and trusted that we would come out on top. To hear them support us throughout the duration of that game, and especially at the end [of the game] when it wasn’t looking good, it meant a lot to us.” 

 

Notes: 

  • Attendance: 8,501 (Sold-Out) – Coca-Cola Coliseum, Toronto, ON. 
  • Three Stars: 1) Taylor Heise 2) Maddie Rooney 3) Rebecca Leslie  
  • Shots ended 31-28 in favor of Minnesota – They led in the second (12-11) and third period (12-4) – Toronto had the edge in the first (13-7). 
  • Kelly Pannek (MIN) and Renata Fast (TOR) led all players with five shots on goal – Heise and Leslie finished second with four shots apiece.
  • Minnesota was 2/3 on the powerplay – Toronto was 0/1. 
  • Minnesota scored a powerplay goal for the first time since Apr. 18 ending an 0/25 stretch with the advantage. 
  • Minnesota scored two powerplay goals for the first time in a game all season – They ranked fifth on the PP during the regular-season (5/61) at 8.2%. 
  • Toronto allowed two powerplay goals for the first time since Jan. 13 – They ranked first during the regular-season on the PK (67/73) at 91.8%. 
  • Fast led all Toronto players in ice time at 28:38 – Lee Stecklein (MIN) led her team with 26:21 TOI. 
  • Rooney’s shutout streak ended at 173:19. 
  • Sophia Kunin (MIN) was a game-best plus-2. 
  • Stecklein and Sophie Jaques recorded two assists each – They’re now tied for the PWHL Playoffs scoring lead with three points.  
  • Minnesota’s Kendall Coyne Schofield (2A), Kelly Pannek (1A), Abby Boreen (1A), Kunin (1G), and Heise (2G) all recorded their first points of the postseason. 
  • Toronto’s Leslie (1G), Victoria Bach (1A) and Kali Flanagan (1A) all hit the scoresheet for the first time in the series. 
  • Heise won a series-high 68.8% of her draws.  
  • Heise and Denisa Křižová now have two goals apiece in the PWHL playoffs – Only six players have scored more than once thus far through the semi-final round.  
  • Minnesota won its first game on the road since Mar. 3, ending a six-game losing streak. 
  • Minnesota’s four goals are their most scored in a road game this season. 
  • Toronto lost its first game on home ice since Jan. 17, ending an 11-game winning streak. 
  • Toronto was held to one goal on home ice for the first time since Jan. 13. 
  • This was the first game in the series won by the visiting team. 
  • This was the first game in the series where the winning goalie did not record a shutout. 
  • The team that scored first won all five games of the series. 
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