PWHL Boston in the Finals After 3-2 OT win vs PWHL Montreal

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On Tuesday night, before a crowd of 2,781 fans, a chance at history was in the cards for PWHL Boston. Leading in their best of five series with PWHL Montreal 2-0, they returned home to Tsongas Center to try and finish off the series and move on to the inaugural PWHL championship series and play for the Walter Cup. The two games in Montreal were both overtime affairs, including a classic triple overtime thriller on Saturday night that was won by PWHL Boston on a goal by Taylor Wenczkowski as the clock struck midnight. The Tsongas Center crowd was looking to see history. Would Tuesday night be the night?

The starting goalies for Tuesday night’s game three were Ann-Renee Desbiens (0-0-2, 1.29 GAA, .948) for PWHL Montreal, and for PWHL Boston Aerin Frankel (2-0-0, 0.65 GAA, .982). The first period played out much like they did north of the border. Close checking and a few chances for both teams. PWHL Montreal’s best early chance came off the stick of Gabriella David whose close-in backhander was stopped by Frankel. PWHL Boston did not have many Grade-A chances in the period as they were outshot 16-4. There were no penalties in the period. There was a goal, and it came from “Captain Clutch” Marie-Phillip Poulin at 15:39 assisted by Mikyla Grant-Mentis and Madison Bizal. The first period ended with PWHL Montreal up 1-0 and shots were 18-4 in favor of PWHL Montreal,

The second period started five-on-five but it did not stay that way for long. PWHL Boston took the game’s first penalty as Kaleigh Fratkin went off for hooking at 4:00. The PWHL Montreal power play which was 4-for-40 on the road did not do much with it. PWHL Boston got their first power play at the 8:25 mark as Kristen O’Neill went off for holding. The PWHL Boston PP has been bad at home going 1-31. Their best chance came off a cross-ice pass from Amanda Pelkey from left to right that found Susanna Tappani at the right doorstep but her stuff was stopped by Desbiens. At 12:19, PWHL Montreal went back on the PP as Jess Healy went off for hooking. PWHL Montreal scored on this PP as Maureen Murphy got her 1st of the playoffs. Poulin and Erin Ambross got the assists. Murphy tipped home a point shot from Ambross past Frankel. 2-0 PWHL Montreal. PWHL Boston was having trouble generating any sustained offense in the PWHL Montreal zone. The second-period shots were 7-7 . For two periods it was 25-11 PWHL Montreal.

A third-period comeback was needed if PWHL Boston was going to move on to the finals. At 3:34, PWHL Boston got another person advantage as Mariah Keopple went off for hooking. Despite zone time by PWHL Boston, they could not put the puck in the net. They were now 0-3 on the PP. With the game now back to 5-on-5, PWHL Boston got on the scoreboard at 7:06 as Sophie Shirley scored her 1st of the playoffs. She took the puck from Amanda Pelkey on the left side wall and drove to the net, cut inside, and beat Desbiens between the pads. Sidney Morin also picked up an assist. With 11:33 left it was a one-goal game at 2-1.

After that goal, PWHL Boston found their skating legs. They started buzzing around the PWHL Montreal zone. Desbiens was up to the task keeping her team in the lead. PWHL Montreal got a chance to add to their lead at 15:38 as Alina Muller went off for boarding. Instead, it would be PWHL Boston that would take advantage of being down a person. Amanda Pelkey scored a “jailbreak goal”, her first of the playoffs, off a rink-long pass from Brandt at 16:17 to tie the game at 2-2. Pelkey was just able to stay on-side when she received the pass. She broke in and beat Desbiens to the far left side. In the final minute, PWHL Boston did all they could to win the game in regulation but could not. So for the third straight game, overtime would be needed. PWHL Boston outshot PWHL Montreal 11-9 in the third and after three periods shots on goal were 34-22, PWHL Montreal.

On to overtime at Tsongas Center to see who would be the hero on this night. It would take all of 1:02 for PWHL Boston to end it. Susanna Tappani, off a rebound of an Alina Muller shot from between the circle, made no mistake as she buried the game-winner, 3-2 PWHL Boston. Theresa Schafzahl also assisted on the goal.

After the game, the post-game press conference was a tale of two teams. For PWHL Montreal the reality of the season being over hit home. Head coach Kori Cheverie was “trying to process everything.” She felt that her team played better for 10 of the 12 periods played. On the other side of things, PWHL Boston head coach Courtney Kessel talked about the mood in the locker room between the second and third period. Saying ‘it was a lot better.” She admitted the team “did not start the way we wanted.” But as she said, it is how you finish that count.

PWHL Boston now waits to see who they will play for the title as well as how the Walter Cup will be scheduled.

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