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PWHL Minnesota saves best for last, edges Ottawa in shootout

During this inaugural season of the Professional Women's Hockey League, Minnesota had not had a game go to a shootout until Tuesday. That added a little extra drama, as it scored three times in the shootout to beat Ottawa 4-3 at Xcel Energy Center.

Denisa Krizova, Grace Zumwinkle and Taylor Heise scored shootout goals, and goaltender Maddie Rooney allowed only one to give Minnesota the victory after the teams ended overtime still tied 3-3. The victory was Minnesota's second in a row.

Minnesota held a 2-0 lead at 11:22 of the first period on goals by Abby Boreen and Krizova. But a special-teams mismatch opened the door for Ottawa to take charge.

Ottawa, which has the PWHL's best power play, scored two goals on its first two attempts against Minnesota's league-worst penalty kill. Hayley Scamurra got the first at 12:41, followed by an even-strength goal by Katerina Mrazova at 15:26 to tie it 2-2 heading into the first intermission.

Boreen was penalized for a check to the head only 21 seconds into the second period, and Mrazova scored on the power play 31 seconds later to give Ottawa the lead. But Minnesota continued to apply pressure, tying the score 3-3 with Krizova's goal from the slot at 8:51 of the third.

Rooney, who recorded a shutout Sunday, made her first back-to-back starts of the season and stopped 22 shots.

The game began a stretch of four consecutive home contests for Minnesota, a span that ends March 24 when the league begins a three-week break for the world championships. It also ended a 10-day contract for Boreen, her second with the team.

The former Gophers forward is a pharmacy student and one of Minnesota's reserve players. Tuesday, she was reunited with college teammate Taylor Heise on Minnesota's top line, and they combined for a goal at 7:23 of the first period.

After a Heise shot nicked the stick of an Ottawa player, the puck trickled toward Boreen at the left edge of the goal crease. She snared it and tucked it past goaltender Sandra Abstreiter for the fourth goal of her nine-game run with the team.

Krizova netted her first of the season at 11:22, taking a nice pass from Grace Zumwinkle and firing a wrist shot past Abstreiter from the right circle.

That 2-0 lead started to dwindle less than a minute later, when Ottawa got its first power play. Ottawa leads the PWHL in power-play efficiency (28.9%), while Minnesota is last in penalty-killing success (73%). It took Ottawa only 34 seconds to score, as Scamurra's unassisted goal cut the Minnesota lead to 2-1.

Mrazova tied it by finishing off a slick passing sequence at 15:26 of the first period, directing Daryl Watts' pass past Rooney. Ottawa took a 3-2 lead on its next power play, with Mrazova's tap-in 52 seconds into the second period.

Minnesota kept the heat on Ottawa, holding a 16-10 advantage in second-period shots and creating several good scoring chances early in the third period. Zumwinkle set up the tying goal with another well-placed pass to Krizova, who shot over Abstreiter.