MINNESOTA CLAIMS FIRST-EVER WALTER CUP, HEISE VOTED ILANA KLOSS PLAYOFF MVP

LOWELL, MA (May 29, 2024) – Minnesota defeated Boston 3-0 on Wednesday night at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell in Game 5 of the PWHL Finals, presented by Scotiabank, to claim The Walter Cup. 

 

Taylor Heise was voted the recipient of the Ilana Kloss Playoff MVP award after leading the PWHL Playoffs in goals with five, and finishing tied for first in points with eight, in ten games played. Heise was chosen first overall by Minnesota in the inaugural PWHL Draft in September 2023.  

 

Nicole Hensley made 17 saves to record her second shutout of the series. 

 

Liz Schepers scored the eventual game-winner for Minnesota at 6:14 of the second period after Sydney Brodt sent a shot around Aerin Frankel and through the crease. Schepers tapped it home—her first of the playoffs.  

 

Michela Cava got the insurance marker at 8:08 of the third period, assisted by Mellissa Channell and Heise. Channell recorded three assists in the contest to lead all scorers in Game 5. 

 

Cava finished the PWHL Playoffs with eight points (4G, 4A), tied with Heise for the postseason scoring lead. 

 

Captain Kendall Coyne Schofield – the first player to ever lift The Walter Cup – scored an empty net goal at 17:54 to seal the victory for Minnesota.  

 

Frankel made 41 saves for Boston, including 19 in the third period as her team pushed to even the score.  

 

Minnesota clinched the series on the road— at a sold-out Tsongas Center — after Boston evened the best-of-five series in double-overtime in Game 4. Minnesota entered the PWHL Playoffs on a five-game losing streak and lost the first two games of their semifinal matchup against Toronto, before winning three straight games to reach the PWHL Finals. After losing Game 1, Minnesota won the next two games to take a 2-1 series lead heading into Game 4 at home. 

 

PWHL Minnesota Championship Merchandise is now available for purchase online 

 

Postgame Quotes: 

Minnesota captain Kendall Coyne Schofield: “It took every single player and every single person you see on this ice right now to make it happen. There’s a lot of people that counted us out when we had that [five]-game slide coming into the playoffs. But we got in and we never looked back. It took a team effort from just everyone you see here…there were a lot of moments where we could have gotten down and out. There were moments where we were down, but we knew we were never out—we stuck together. We had so much fun in the making of because the Walter Cup champions.” 

 

Ilana Kloss Playoff MVP Taylor Heise on what changed for Minnesota heading into the playoffs: “A little mindset. Obviously we believed in each other even though the losing skid wasn’t fun. But I think we all learned from it, and we have the best backup—whether that’s goaltenders, defense or forwards — and obviously we believe in each other every single shift that we’re out there. I’m just really proud of this group and I’m excited to share this moment with them.” 

  

Boston captain Hilary Knight: “Obviously It’s tough when you lose, especially in Game 5 at home in front of amazing fans. But we just came from the room, and all we’re doing is reflecting on how proud we are — how we continued to persevere, regardless of any odds that were thrown in our direction. How we fought.” 

 

Notes:   

  • Attendance: 6,309 (a sell-out) – Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell.  
  • Three Stars: 1) Nicole Hensley 2) Kendall Coyne Schofield 3) Aerin Frankel  
  • Shots ended 44-17 in favor of Minnesota –– They outshot Boston in all three periods (9-7/16-7/19-3). 
  • Coyne Schofield led all skaters with seven shots on goal – Hilary Knight led all Boston players with five shots on goal.  
  • Minnesota was 0/1 on the powerplay — Boston did not have a powerplay opportunity. 
  • Minnesota did not allow a single powerplay goal in the playoffs (19/19) — Boston didn’t score on the powerplay in the entire playoffs (0/15). 
  • Megan Keller (BOS) led all skaters with 28:33 TOI –– Lee Stecklein led all Minnesota players in ice-time at 26:53. 
  • Minnesota played ten playoff games in 22 days, the most games in the shortest time for a team this season.   
  • Hensley joins Kristen Campbell (TOR) and teammate Maddie Rooney with two playoff shutouts, the most of all goaltenders.  
  • In Game 5, Mellissa Channell became the first PWHL player to record three assists in a postseason game – Her three assists exceeded her regular-season point total (2A). 
  • Four of Minnesota’s six playoff victories were shutout wins.  
  • Seven of Minnesota’s nine playoff games ended in a shutout – The team was 4-3 in shutout games. 
  • Seven Minnesota players won back-to-back championships tonight including Cava and Emma Greco (2023 PHF Isobel Cup, Toronto Six), Channell, Stecklein, Clair DeGeorge, Sophia Kunin (2023 PWHPA Secret Cup, Team Harvey’s), and Natalie Buchbinder (2023 NCAA National Championship, University of Wisconsin Badgers). 
  • Coyne Schofield, Stecklein, and Amanda Leveille won their second professional women’s hockey championship in Minnesota following the 2019 Isobel Cup as Minnesota Whitecaps. 
  • Minnesota’s roster of 26 players features 21 Americans including 12 from the state of Minnesota, four Canadians, and one player from Czechia. 
  • Tonight’s attendance was the highest for a game at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell all season.  
  • During the post-game ceremony, the Ilana Kloss Playoff MVP Award was presented by Kloss, alongside fellow PWHL Advisory Board members Stan Kasten and Royce Cohen. 
  • The Walter Cup was presented by Mark and Kimbra Walter, Advisory Board member Billie Jean King, and Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Jayna Hefford. 
  • The Walter family is a leader in philanthropy and business, and provided the foundational support that launched the PWHL. 

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