June 20th, 2024

Boston rides Healey goal to 4-3 win in first game of PWHL championship series

By The Associated Press on May 19, 2024.

LOWELL, Mass. (AP) – Jess Healey scored from the point late in the second period to lift Boston to a 4-3 win over Minnesota on Sunday night in the first game of the inaugural Walter Cup Final, the championship series of the Professional Women’s Hockey League post-season.

The best-of-five series continues Tuesday. Game 1 attracted 4,508 fans.

Healey, a defenceman who had one goal during the regular season, got her first playoff goal just 15 seconds after Minnesota’s Taylor Heise scored her second goal, tying it 3-3 with 2:50 left in the second period.

Boston goalie Aerin Frankel survived two power plays, 95 seconds of Minnesota pulling goalie Maddie Rooney for an extra attacker and 13 shots in the third period. Frankel finished with 30 saves and Minnesota came up empty on the only three power plays of the game.

Healy got the puck at the left point and she sent a high wrist shot through traffic over Rooney’s glove into the far, top corner.

“We’re just absolutely relentless,” Healey said. “This whole playoff stretch we’ve really shown that, we never gave up. We had a good response every time they got a goal.”

It was the fourth straight playoff win by one goal for third-seeded Boston, which swept second-seeded Montreal 3-0 with all three games decided in overtime.

Minnesota went on the power play just 10 seconds into the game and although that didn’t produce a goal, it set a tone for pressure that resulted in Michela Cava’s goal less than five minutes in. Susanna Tapani, who had two of the overtime winners in the semifinals, scored the equalizer for Boston 2 1/2 minutes later.

That set the stage for a wild second period that featured five goals.

After Taylor Heise scored for Minnesota at 8:04, Taylor Wenczkowski and Hannah Brandt connected 2:21 apart and Boston led 3-2 with 4:49 remaining in the period.

Heise tied it again about two minutes later but that just set the stage for Healey.

Rooney had 18 saves for Minnesota.

Both teams finished with 35 points in the regular season and didn’t secure a playoff berth until the closing days. Boston beat Minnesota three times in five games and had the tiebreaker for the third seed. Minnesota won three-straight to beat league champion Toronto 3-2 in the semifinals.

Game 2 is Tuesday in Lowell, Mich.

AP hockey: https://apnews.com/hub/hockey

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