GAME RECAP: JAQUES SCORES TWICE, HENSLEY EARNS SHUTOUT AS MINNESOTA EVENS PWHL FINALS

LOWELL, MA (May 21, 2024) – Sophie Jaques had two goals and Nicole Hensley made 20 saves to record her first-ever PWHL playoff shutout, as Minnesota defeated Boston 3-0 on Tuesday at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell.  

  

The best-of-five PWHL Finals for The Walter Cup is now tied 1-1 with Game 3 set to take place at Minnesota’s Xcel Energy Center on Friday night at 7 p.m. ET. 

  

Jaques got her first tally of the game at 16:21 of the first period to give her team a 2-0 lead — just 1:56 after teammate Michela Cava opened the scoring.  

  

After goaltender Aerin Frankel turned aside a Claire Butorac shot, Liz Schepers gathered the rebound and found Jaques at the point. The defender stepped around a Boston player before firing a low shot through traffic and into the back of the net.  

  

The 23-year-old put the game away with her second goal of the contest, an empty netter at 17:31 of the third period with Frankel on the bench. 

  

Jaques — who was acquired from Boston in the first trade in PWHL history on February 11 for forward Susanna Tapani and defender Abby Cook — is the first defender with a multi-goal game in the playoffs. She now sits in a tie atop the PWHL playoff scoring race with five points (2G, 3A) alongside teammate Taylor Heise (4G, 1A). 

  

Hensley was named Minnesota’s starter for the first time since Game 1 of her team’s semi-final series against Toronto. Maddie Rooney was the starter for Minnesota’s previous four games.  

  

Minnesota now has three total shutout wins through seven playoff games, with Rooney collecting two against Toronto in addition to Hensley’s perfect performance against Boston, the most among all PWHL teams.  

  

Cava opened the scoring for the second straight game in the PWHL Finals and now has four points in the series.  

  

Minnesota’s win was aided by their penalty kill, which was a perfect 4-for-4 in the game, including stymieing a Boston powerplay with less than five minutes to play in the third period with the score still 2-0. They have yet to allow a powerplay goal through seven playoff games.  

  

Frankel made 20 saves in the loss—her first defeat of the playoffs.  

 

Postgame Quotes: 

 

Minnesota Head Coach Ken Klee on naming Nicole Hensley the starter for Game 2: “We have two great goalies. All year we’ve kind of rotated back and forth. Obviously, Maddie [Rooney] got hot in the first round so it was tough to take her out, but we knew we could go back to Nicole [Hensley] at any point, and she would be ready to go. And obviously, she played fantastic for us tonight.” 

 

Minnesota defender Sophie Jaques on the mindset entering Game 2: “Coming in here we knew we had to get one win on the road. And I think we played really well today coming back from Sunday’s game.” 

 

Boston Head Coach Courtney Kessel: “I thought it was a great game. They capitalized and we didn’t. You can’t come into a championship thinking you’re just going to sweep, so we’re ready for a battle and that’s what we saw tonight.” 

 

Notes:   

  • Attendance: 4,543 – Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, Lowell, MA. 
  • Three Stars: 1) Sophie Jaques 2) Nicole Hensley 3) Kaleigh Fratkin 
  • Shots ended 23-20 in favor of Minnesota – Shots were tied 7-7 in the first period then Minnesota outshot Boston 6-5 in the second and 10-8 in the third period. 
  • Michela Cava (MIN) led all players with six shots on goal – Teammate Kelly Pannek and Hilary Knight (BOS) had five shots apiece. 
  • Boston was 0/4 on the powerplay – Minnesota was 0/2. 
  • Knight led all players in time on ice at 27:01 – Lee Stecklein (MIN) led her team with 24:37 TOI. 
  • Jaques recorded her second two-goal performance of the season (Feb. 27). 
  • Jaques was a game-high plus-3 and now has a playoff rating of plus-6 which is tied with teammate Mellissa Channell for the league-lead. 
  • Hensley recorded her second shutout of the season – Her first was also a 20-save performance against Boston in a 4-0 victory on Mar. 13. 
  • Cava has scored the first goal in both games of the finals – She is tied for third in playoff scoring with four points (2G, 2A). 
  • Liz Schepers now has 4A and is tied with Boston’s Megan Keller for the playoff lead. 
  • Five of Minnesota’s seven playoff games have ended in a shutout – The team has three shutout wins and two shutout losses. 
  • Boston’s streak of six straight wins and six straight home wins comes to an end – They lost for the first time since a 3-2 shootout loss in Ottawa on Apr. 24 and the first time at Tsongas Center since a 4-2 loss to Ottawa on Feb. 19. 
  • Boston’s streak of 12 straight one-goal games comes to an end – The last time they had a final score with more than a one-goal margin was Mar. 13 in a 4-0 loss to Minnesota – That game is also the last time they were shutout and were limited to 20 shots on goal. 
  • At 2:20 of the second period the on-ice officials reviewed a potential goal scored by Boston but confirmed that the whistle had been blown before the puck entered the net. 
  • At 9:53 of the third period the on-ice officials reviewed the penalty assessed to Jessica Digirolamo (BOS) as a potential match penalty for checking to the head – a minor penalty for charging was confirmed. 

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