GAME RECAP: MINNESOTA EDGES MONTRÉAL 3-2 IN SHOOTOUT TO EXTEND WIN STREAK TO FIVE

SAINT PAUL, MN (March 24, 2024) – Minnesota overcame a 2-0 first period deficit to defeat Montréal 3-2 in a shootout at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday afternoon, the team’s fifth win in a row.

 

Minnesota now has 35 points on the season and sit one point behind first-place Toronto.

 

Grace Zumwinkle and Taylor Heise provided all three goals for Minnesota in the shootout, with Zumwinkle shooting— and scoring — twice.

 

Heise’s lone shootout attempt was a highlight-reel goal in which the first-year forward put the puck between her legs before scoring on the backhand.

 

Montréal got off to a strong start, with two goals in the first six minutes of play to get out to a 2-0 lead. Kati Tabin’s first goal of the season made the game 1-0 just 2:36 into the game.

 

Maureen Murphy took the original shot from the point, which hit a group of players in front. Gabrielle David shoveled the loose puck on net on her backhand, but Minnesota goaltender Nicole Hensley made a right pad save. Tabin, who was parked to Hensley’s right, found the rebound and put the puck over the goal line.

 

Murphy and David also factored into Montréal’s second goal, scored just over three minutes later.

 

On a two-on-one, David passed the puck over to Murphy who made a move to her backhand and slid the puck in to make the game 2-0 at 5:53 of the first frame.

 

Minnesota’s comeback began in the second period with a goal from Natalie Buchbinder at 5:40 to make the game 2-1. The defender took a shot from the point which deflected off a Montréal player in the slot and past Montréal goaltender Elaine Chuli. Maggie Flaherty and Clair DeGeorge recorded the assists on the play.

 

The home team tied the game just 24 seconds later as Lee Stecklein got her second of the season.

 

The play began with a Minnesota face-off win in the offensive zone, as Kendall Coyne Schofield secured the puck before passing it back to Sophie Jaques who fed it over to Stecklein on the left point. The defender moved in, executing a toe drag to move around a Montréal skater before firing a snap shot, which beat Chuli blocker side to tie the game 2-2.

 

Later in the frame, Michela Cava nearly gave the home team a 3-2 lead with what would have been her fourth goal in her last three games, but it was determined to have been tipped with a high stick after video review.

 

The third period saw numerous high-quality chances for both teams but both Hensley and Chuli made big saves for their teams.

 

Hensley stopped a David breakaway opportunity seven minutes into the third period — as play continued, Chuli then stopped Zumwinkle point blank with a pad save.

 

With under two minutes to play, Hensley once again came up big for her team, stopping a 3-on-0 opportunity for Montréal with a right pad save.

 

Heise had the game on her stick on a breakaway two minutes into overtime, but Chuli stopped the forward’s deke attempt. The rebound, which bounced off the top of the crossbar, briefly sat on the goal line before Chuli covered the puck.

 

Minnesota’s five-game winning streak is a season high for the team. Montréal has now lost four straight games, their longest stretch of losses.

 

Hensley made 21 saves to secure her seventh win of the season, tied for second-most in the PWHL— she stopped three of four Montréal attempts in the shootout. Chuli made 33 saves in the loss.

 

Up next for both teams is a break for the IIHF Women’s World Championship, which takes place April 3-14 in Utica, NY. The PWHL schedule resumes on Thursday, April 18.

 

Postgame Quotes:

 

Minnesota head coach Ken Klee on overcoming a 2-0 deficit: “We know they’re a good team and we know they’re going to push hard and they did — so it was good for us to hang in there and stick with it. I think it was kind of a pivotal thing for us because it solidified that we’re going to be a tough team to contend with because we have multiple weapons and multiple players that contribute every game.”

 

Minnesota forward Taylor Heise on her team’s comeback: “We’re a resilient team, we’ve been in those situations before losing early in the game just like today. We didn’t really need to say anything, we sit in the huddle and know we have nearly the whole game left and time to work with what we’ve got. Every line came out firing today so if you made a mistake, you knew someone else was coming out next shift.”

 

Notes:

  • Attendance: 7,268 – Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, MN.
  • Three Stars: 1) Lee Stecklein 2) Maureen Murphy 3) Natalie Buchbinder
  • Shots ended 35-23 in favor of Minnesota—They outshot Montréal in the first (15-5) and second period (11-7) but were outshot in the third (8-6) — Shots were 3-3 in overtime.
  • Minnesota’s Grace Zumwinkle and Taylor Heise led all players, each with seven shots on goal – Heise’s total is a season-high – Montréal’s Maureen Murphy and Sarah Lefort finished second with four shots each.
  • Both teams were 0/2 on the powerplay — Montréal has successfully killed off 14/14 penalties against Minnesota this season.
  • Stecklein logged a game-high 30:27 of ice time — Erin Ambrose (MTL) finished with 27:48 of ice time, second among all players.
  • Amanda Boulier (MTL) logged 24:02 of ice time in her Montréal debut.
  • Minnesota has now come back from 2-0 deficits twice this season — They beat Ottawa 3-2 in OT on January 17 after trailing 2-0 after the first period.
  • Montréal has now lost twice this season after leading 2-0 — They lost 3-2 in OT against Boston on January 13 after leading 2-0 during the second period — That game was also tied 2-2 after two periods.
  • Kendall Coyne Schofield now has a four-game point streak (2G, 4A) — She also has a four-game assist streak, which is tied for the longest streak this season with three other players.
  • Coyne Schofield now sits in sole possession of eighth in league scoring with 14 points and is a PWHL-best plus-12.
  • Buchbinder extends her point streak to four games (1G, 3A).
  • Clair DeGeorge recorded her first PWHL point, an assist on Buchbinder’s second period tally.
  • Stecklein now has points in back-to-back games after going ten games without a point — She moves into a tie for seventh in scoring among defenders in the PWHL with eight points (2G, 6A).
  • Stecklein’s goal was the eighth scored by a Minnesota defender which puts the team in first in the league for goals from the blue line.
  • Sophie Jaques has recorded an assist in each of her last three games and has six points (2G, 4A) in her last six games.
  • Despite their shootout goals, Zumwinkle’s point streak ends at five and Heise’s ends at three.
  • Zumwinkle leads the league with three shootout goals in three attempts – Heise has scored two shootout goals in two attempts.
  • Murphy recorded her first multi-point game since January 16 against New York and first multi-point period this season.
  • Gabrielle David recorded her first multi-point game of the season and first assist since January 10 against New York.
  • Kati Tabin joins Ambrose and Leah Lum as just the third Montréal defender to score a goal this season — Leah Lum, who moved to forward for this game, has played the majority of the season at D.
  • Minnesota improves its record in shootouts to 2-0 – Montréal’s shootout record falls to 0-3.
  • Minnesota (8-4-3-4) secures two points for a shootout win and remains in second place — They are four points ahead of Montréal (3rd) and eight points ahead of Ottawa (4th).
  • Montréal (7-3-4-5) collects one point in the loss, and now has 31 points on the season — They sit in third place, four points behind Minnesota and five behind Toronto — They have four more points than fourth place Ottawa, nine more than Boston and 14 more than New York.
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