Brandt’s goal with 2.7 seconds left lifts Boston over PWHL Minnesota

PWHL Minnesota needed only one point Saturday to lock up a playoff berth. It missed its opportunity in painful fashion, as Boston won 2-1 on a goal with 2.7 seconds remaining at Xcel Energy Center.

Vadnais Heights native and Gophers alumna Hannah Brandt played the spoiler in Minnesota's final home game of the regular season. Brandt got behind the defense, took a perfect pass from Hilary Knight on the right boards and shot over Minnesota goaltender Nicole Hensley from the slot. If the game had gone to overtime, Minnesota would have secured the point it needed to secure the playoff berth with a win or a loss.

The team has two more chances to claim a place in the playoffs, as the regular season concludes next week with road games at Toronto and New York.

Kelly Pannek gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead at 18 minutes, 50 seconds of the second period before Boston tied it on Alina Mueller's power-play goal at 1:42 of the third. The game drew a crowd announced at 9,977.

Before a three-week break for the world championships, Minnesota had won five consecutive games, including four at home. They started the final stretch on the road, where their offense stalled in losses at Montreal and Ottawa.

Coach Ken Klee switched up his lines a bit to try and spark more production. Minnesota generated the better chances in the first and second periods but could not get past Boston goaltender Emma Soderberg, a former star at Minnesota Duluth.

The team finally broke through with 70 seconds remaining in the second period. Pannek staked out position in front of the Boston net, as Kendall Coyne Schofield shot from the left circle. The puck hit Soderberg and fell in the crease, where Pannek knocked it in for a 1-0 lead.

That was Minnesota's first goal in six periods. It went into the second intermission with the crowd revved up and a 24-12 advantage in shots, but Boston quickly shut down that momentum in the third period.

Boston took advantage of a Minnesota penalty kill that ranks last in the league. After Denisa Krizova was penalized for tripping only 55 seconds into the period, Boston's power play—which had scored only three times this season—pulled it even on Mueller's wrist shot from the left circle.