Minnesota tops Boston 4-1, grabs 2-1 lead in inaugural PWHL championship series

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Michela Cava and Taylor Heise both had a goal and an assist to lead Minnesota to a 4-1 victory over Boston on Friday night, giving their team a 2-1 lead in the inaugural championship series of the Professional Women’s Hockey League.

Minnesota will host Game 4 in the best-of-five series on Sunday. Game 5, if necessary, would be played in Boston on Wednesday.

It took just 59 seconds for Heise to slip a shot past Boston goaltender Aerin Frankel and give Minnesota the lead for good. Cava notched an assist on Heise’s fifth goal in eight postseason games. Heise had four goals and nine assists during the regular season.

Minnesota took a 2-0 lead with 2:22 left in the first period when Sydney Brodt used assists from Brittyn Fleming and Kelly Pannek to score her first goal this season.

Boston’s goal came with two seconds left in the second period when Alina Müller found the net. Susanna Tapani and Jamie Lee Rattray had assists. It was Müller’s first goal of the postseason after scoring five times during the regular season.

Minnesota regained its two-goal lead 3:29 into the final period when Cava scored her third of the postseason — off an assist from Heise. Grace Zumwinkle scored into an empty net after Boston pulled Frankel for an extra skater with 3:50 remaining. Zumwinkle’s goal was her first this postseason.

Minnesota goalie Nicole Hensley finished with 18 saves. Frankel saved 21 shots for Boston.

Minnesota, the fourth seed, beat top-seeded Toronto 3-2 in a first-round series. Toronto had its choice of who to play between Minnesota and Boston after a first-place finish during the regular season. Boston swept No. 2 seed Montreal to advance to the finals.

Minnesota sported the best record in the league before a nearly month-long break for international play. The club lost all five of its matches after returning but still managed to grab the final playoff spot.

Boston split a pair of home matches to begin the series, winning the opener 4-3 before losing 3-0.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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