Hockey News

PWHL Minnesota Leans on Top Line to Take Series Lead vs. Boston – Hockey Writers – PWHL

Looking to turn the series in their favor, PWHL Minnesota faced off against PWHL Boston in Game 3 of the PWHL Finals back home in St. Paul in front of a large crowd of 9,054. It was a big sports night in the Twin Cities as the Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves, and PWHL Minnesota all played within miles.

While the Timberwolves were fighting to even their series in the Western Conference Final, PWHL Minnesota was fighting for their chance to lift the Walter Cup. They started the first half with a goal 59 seconds into the game, and with a back-and-forth, they added another before the end of the period to take a 2-0 lead. The second half was tough for PWHL Minnesota last season, and while they had some good chances, PWHL Boston came in before the end of the period to pull within one.

In the third period, both teams had chances, but PWHL Minnesota found another level in their game. They added a third goal early in the period before scoring an empty net jailbreak goal to win 4-1. The top line of PWHL Minnesota got things going, and that’s where we’re going to start.

PWHL Minnesota’s Top Line on Fire

Taylor Heise of the PWHL Minnesota has shown that the sky is the limit for him in the postseason. In three games of this series, he has three goals and two assists and has been electric throughout. His speed and skill sets him apart from many other players, but he fits well with his teammates, Michela Cava and Kendall Coyne-Schofield.

When Heise scored the first goal, Cava, who shouldn’t be out of time, had a spectacular effort of his own, clawing his way through the offensive zone to put his team back up by two early in the third. Heise and Cava had goals, but having Coyne-Schofield on the line allowed them to score those goals with the way he worked the puck.

“We’ve tried different lines throughout the year, and we tried this one a little bit when we were in our skis a little bit, and I liked some of the things they did; I saw that they wanted each other and opened up. Obviously for me as a coach my job is to keep things fresh, so I’m mixing the lines often and making sure I want to have the right lines at the right time, and thankfully, we’re doing that right now. ” Coach Ken Klee said in a press conference after the game when asked how he came up with the top line combination.

PWHL Minnesota Stays Combined

Despite physical fitness continuing to rise throughout this series, PWHL Minnesota has found ways to stay. Even when the hits are questionable and can often force a retaliatory move, PWHL Minnesota does just enough to stay out of the box and stop. In most postseason games, revenge can be the move that gets a team in, but PWHL Minnesota has found a way to stay focused.

However, on a physical note, Coyne-Schofield, who may be the smallest player between the two teams at 5-foot-2, has been a wrecking ball. He was able to clear a number of players off the puck cleanly and just keep going. He is a physical presence on that top line, and it has helped them succeed.

PWHL Minnesota celebrates after a goal in Game 2 of the 2024 PWHL Finals (Photo Credit: PWHL)

“Obviously, we’re both similar to Heise in that he’s a little bit taller than us, but we’re both a lot smaller, but I didn’t mean he had about five or six hits today; he plays with body and strength so it will definitely be a big compliment to him, and he definitely brings out their (Boston) players and us,” Cava said when asked about Coyne-Schofield’s play on their line.

PWHL Minnesota’s Puck Control

PWHL Minnesota has found a way to succeed by going back to basics with both offense and defense. They don’t try to overdo the games; they just shoot when the puck is on their sticks. If they can get by easily, they do; if not, they want a gun, and it worked. They take shots and hunt for rebounds instead of doing too much and losing the puck.

On the other hand, the defense did everything it could to help goaltender Nicole Hensley, who had her second straight night in net after the big Game 2 win in Boston. His defense lay down, dropped to a knee, and did almost everything to block the puck. Apart from one small mistake that led to the goal, they cleaned it up and did not make the same mistake again.

When the puck was able to get through the defense, Hensley went up high and earned his loud “Hensley” chants from the crowd. It was a great effort from the defensive core of PWHL Minnesota and their goalie to keep PWHL Boston to one goal.

PWHL Minnesota Focused

If PWHL Minnesota wins on Sunday, May 26, they will have a chance to capture the first ever Walter Cup. They know what to do and stay focused on what needs to happen. They don’t look too far and realize that PWHL Boston is a strong team. They will have to do everything they can to come out and win game 4.

“Yes, it is not. I mean, obviously, it’s going to be a special moment but just kind of thinking that my next first game is the next game. I wouldn’t say I think about the whole game, it starts with one shift as obviously we went out and hit the first shift, Cava came, had a good forehand, put it in the net, Kendall drove it in the net, again. I was there, and I was able to turn and shoot. Those are the times you want to think about the future; you want to think about the next game…” Heise said when asked if he was thinking about winning the Walter Cup.

Heise continued, “No, I haven’t thought about how it will be because I want it to feel like, if it happens, I want it to be electric, and I want it to be something that I am.” I didn’t really have time to think. So I think about that and I go out hard in the next game. We’re very happy to be in the position we’re in and hopefully we won’t have to go back to Boston, that’s our goal.”

Related: PWHL Minnesota vs. Boston: 2024 Walter Cup Preview

I hope they can play like they did in this win and do what Heise said. If they can do that, they will be able to win the first ever Walter Cup in front of their home crowd.

Subscribe to THW Daily and never miss the best of The Hockey Writers Banner

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button