May 24th, 2024

Toronto tops Minnesota 2-0 to sit one win away from PWHL final

By Abdulhamid Ibrahim, The Canadian Press on May 10, 2024.

Toronto goaltender Kristen Campbell (50) battles for position with Minnesota's Abby Boreen (24) as Toronto Kali Flanagan (6) jumps in during second period PWHL playoff hockey action in Toronto on Friday, May 10, 2024.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

TORONTO – Jesse Compher scored the go-ahead goal with 1:25 left in the third period to give Toronto a 2-0 win and 2-0 lead in its best-of-five semifinal series against Minnesota in Professional Women’s Hockey League playoff action on Friday.

Hannah Miller added an empty-netter for top-seeded Toronto in front of 8,581 fans at Coca-Cola Coliseum.

Kristen Campbell earned her second straight shutout with 21 saves. She had a 26-save shutout in a 4-0 Game 1 win Wednesday.

Maddie Rooney stopped 28 shots for Minnesota.

Game 3 is set for Monday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Toronto would advance to the PWHL final for a chance at the Walter Cup with a win.

Toronto had some of its best scoring chances in the scoreless first period on special teams.

With just under nine minutes remaining, Sarah Nurse had her shot stopped after making a rush toward the net on a 2-on-1. However, she was tripped from behind by Minnesota defender Sophie Jaques, who was called with 34 seconds left in the visitors’ power play.

On the ensuing power play Toronto would got from that sequence, Miller let a shot fly from the left faceoff circle. Rooney didn’t appear to see the puck with almost half of the net open, but the puck hit Minnesota defender Lee Stecklein’s skate by the right post and stayed out.

Grace Zumwinkle almost put Minnesota on the board 8:12 into the second period. She stripped Renata Fast of the puck at the blue line and was off to the races on a breakaway but was stopped.

Kali Flanagan missed a great chance of her own to break the deadlock for Toronto with 4:52 left in the middle frame.

Kaitlin Willoughby came down the right side and fired a wrist shot on net that was stopped. The rebound, however, came out to Flanagan going full speed but she couldn’t get her stick on it with a gaping net staring at her.

Nurse had an opportunity in front on the power play but Rooney shut the door on her with 1:48 left.

Abby Boreen came down the left side and fired a wrister with no traffic in front but Campbell made a pad save with 14 seconds remaining to one of many “Soup” chants from the home crowd.

Emma Maltais missed another prime opportunity for Toronto at 4:28 into the third period. Brittany Howard put a shot on net from the slot with the rebound coming out to Maltais at the side of the net but the puck just went by her.

Samantha Cogan had another chance for Toronto at 7:20. Cogan fired a wrister that was stopped and managed to get a whack at the rebound but had the door shut on her.

With just under nine minutes left in the third, Nurse got a breakaway but missed the net while on the penalty kill.

Claire Butorac almost had her wrist shot trickle out from Campbell’s grasp but the Toronto netminder stopped it with 5:23 left.

Compher finally broke the deadlock with just over a minute left when she tipped in a point shot from Fast to the delight of the deafening home crowd.

Miller scored an empty-net goal with 9.4 seconds left.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2024.

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