Minnesota Secures First Professional Women’s Hockey League Championship with Shutout Against Boston

Kendall Coyne Schofield once showcased her speed by racing against men in an NHL skills competition at All-Star weekend. On Wednesday night, she sprinted into women’s hockey history.

The three-time Olympian chased down a rolling puck and scored an empty-net goal, securing Minnesota’s 3-0 victory over Boston in the decisive Game 5, winning the inaugural Professional Women’s Hockey League championship.

Liz Schepers broke the scoreless tie in the second period, Michela Cava extended the lead to 2-0 midway through the third, and Nicole Hensley made 17 saves for Minnesota. Coyne Schofield sealed the game with her empty-net goal with two minutes remaining, then took the first victory lap with the Walter Cup as the team’s captain and oldest player.

“It makes me want to tear up thinking about it. She’s done so much for this sport,” said forward Taylor Heise, named the playoff MVP. “She’s definitely one of the people that’s helped this sport grow and one of the reasons why this arena is sold out here tonight.”

Three nights after a disallowed game-winner in double overtime for goaltender interference, Hensley secured her second shutout of the playoffs. The two-time Olympian from Colorado had recorded one shutout in 14 regular-season games, with Minnesota entering the playoffs on a seven-game losing streak.

“We’re ‘the State of Hockey’,” said Heise, the league’s No. 1 overall draft pick. “And I think this proves it.”

Boston goalie Aerin Frankel, nicknamed the ‘Green Monster’ in her forest green home sweater, made 41 saves for the runners-up. The sold-out crowd at the Tsongas Center, about an hour north of Boston, chanted her name and “Thank you, Boston!” after the final buzzer, as Minnesota players celebrated on the ice and league officials set up the podium for the trophy presentation.

Boston forced a decisive fifth game after Sophie Jaques’ double-overtime goal in Game 4 was disallowed for goaltender interference. Minnesota players, who had already begun celebrating, had to regroup and continue the game. One minute later, Alina Muller scored, sending the series back to Boston.

The crowd, eager to see the home team win the new trophy named for league benefactor and Los Angeles Dodgers owner Mark Walter, chanted “We want the Cup!” just like Bruins fans in Boston. A Fenway-style “Sweet Caroline” singalong entertained them during the second intermission.

With the game scoreless early in the second period, Minnesota forward Sydney Brodt skated through the slot, missed a wrist shot that drew Frankel out of position, then centered the puck to Schepers, who tipped it in for the first goal.

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