Heise scores 2 goals as Minnesota beats Toronto 4-1 to advance to PWHL finals

TORONTO (AP) — Taylor Heise scored twice, including tiebreaking goal in the third period, as Minnesota beat Toronto 4-1 on Friday night to advance to the PWHL's Walter Cup final.

Denisa Krizova and Sophia Kunin also scored for Minnesota, which fell behind 2-0 in the series before winning three straight. Maddie Rooney stopped 27 shots.

Minnesota will take on Boston in the six-team league's inaugural Walter Cup final. The best-of-five series opens Sunday in Boston.

Rebecca Leslie scored for Toronto, which finished first in the standings, 12 points clear of Minnesota. Kristen Campbell made 27 saves.

Toronto was missing veteran star forward Natalie Spooner, who led the league in both goals and points in the regular season, after she suffered a season-ending knee injury in Game 3.

Heise, the top pick in September’s first-ever PWHL draft, scored the winner past Campbell’s glove on a power play at 8:30 of the third after Canadian national team defender Jocelyne Larocque was penalized for hooking.

Toronto tried to press as the clock ticked down, but never really threatened Rooney, who replaced Nicole Hensley after Game 1.

Kunin sealed it with an empty-netter with 1:12 left, and Heise added another into the open cage with 14.6 seconds remaining.

Toronto opened the series with 4-0 and 2-0 victories on home ice before Minnesota returned the favor with a 2-0 triumph and a 1-0 double-overtime win in Game 4.

Toronto, which picked its semifinal opponent under the PWHL’s forward-thinking playoff format, got Friday’s first power play — and seven of the first eight shots — but Minnesota came closest to scoring when Grace Zumwinkle’s effort that leaked through Campbell was cleared to safety by defender Allie Munroe.

Minnesota went ahead on its first power play at 7:29 of the second when Kelly Pannek’s initial shot beat Campbell five-hole and hit the post before the puck bounced in front for Krizova to bury her second of the series.

Toronto tied it just 38 seconds later when Leslie took a pass from Victoria Bach and fired her first to send a packed Coca-Cola Coliseum into a towel-waving frenzy.


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