PWHL Boston Keeps Season Alive In Game 4 After Dramatic Victory

What a night for both PWHL Boston and PWHL Minnesota! Both teams faced off on Sunday night in Game 4 of the Walter Cup Finals, where Minnesota was looking to finish off the inaugural PWHL season with not only a series win but a championship win, as they could’ve become the first team in history to hoist the Walter Cup if they won this game.

One referee call and a double-overtime goal later, and Boston said not so fast.

After one of the most entertaining endings to a hockey game seen in recent times, both teams are still very much in this race, and the champion will be crowned in a decisive game 5 thanks to a late effort by Boston.

The series could have been over by now, yet we’re still here. How did these teams perform in Game 4, and how much of this competitive energy will carry over to Game 5?

80 Minutes Of Hockey Weren’t Enough

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It was a goaltending showcase once again. Game 4 between PWHL Minnesota and Boston remained scoreless throughout the entirety of regulation, and the game still was not decided during the first overtime. Both teams put up a competitive fight on the ice, yet none of the shots managed to make it past goaltenders Aerin Frankel for Boston and Nicole Hensley for Minnesota.

After the end of regulation, the shots on goal were slightly in the favor of Minnesota with 20, while Boston had 19. Minnesota had the slight edge on power-play opportunities with four of them, however, they were unable to capitalize on any of them. Boston had one power play during which they were also unable to score. It was a pretty equal matchup for both teams.

At the end of the double overtime, the shots on goal were equal at 33.

It almost seemed like this game was going to last forever given the almost identical performances.

The Cruel Power Of Goaltender Interference

The game, however, did not last forever as many were expecting. With less than three minutes left in the double overtime, Sophie Jaques–who has made quite an impact in this series for Minnesota– finally got past Frankel after a driving pass from star player Taylor Heise. They did it. They won the cup. Gloves came off, sticks went flying, and the celebration was well in order inside Xcel Energy Center.

Until it wasn’t.

What was not mentioned during Taylor Heise’s drive to the net was that she ended up crashing into Frankel while Jaques fired the puck past her. Frankel was unable to make the save and therefore, the play was under review. After a lengthy review from the referees, it was determined that there was indeed goaltender interference during the play and the goal did not count.

Just like that, the gloves slowly came back on the hands of the Minnesota bench and the sticks were picked back up, as the job was not over yet. The brief taste of championship in Game 4 got taken away from them, and they wanted that back more than anything. Minnesota head coach Ken Klee commented on the dramatic shift in atmosphere after the call, saying:

“It wasn’t a do-or-die for us but obviously it hurt going from a big high, where the confetti is going and the gloves are coming off…and then you have to try to refocus. It hurt but now we go back to work.”

While they were unable to seal their championship during those last couple of minutes in the double overtime of Game 4, there’s no doubt that Game 5 will see a ravenous and passionate Minnesota team.

Boston Steals Game 4, Forces A Game 5

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Play continued after the waved-off goal, and it seemed as though 100 minutes would not be enough to crown a Game 4 champion –or a PWHL champion for that matter.

Nevertheless, Alina Muller, one of the finalists for the PWHL’s Rookie of the Year Award, saved Boston’s season with a minute and a half left in the double overtime. She scored off a turnover from Minnesota and fired the puck past Hensley, winning Game 4 and forcing a decisive Game 5 for the two extremely talented teams.

The Xcel Energy Center crowd of 13k people erupted in boos after the Boston goal, especially since it came so soon after the heartbreaking referee call overturning what would have been the Cup-winning goal.

Muller took advantage of Boston’s momentum in what was left of Game 4, saying, “We really started playing and knew this would be a good challenge for us…We tried to stay in the game and once [the goal] got overturned, we had more power, more speed. It was on our side.”

One thing about this Boston team: they are not going down without a fight.

Looking Forward

Game 5 of the PWHL Walter Cup Finals between PWHL Boston and Minnesota will take place on Wednesday, May 29 at 7 p.m. EST at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell in Lowell, Massachusetts. The game will be streamed on the league’s YouTube Channel as well as the Women’s Sports Network. The best-of-five series is currently tied 2-2.

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About the Author

River Caraballo (she/they) is a hockey writer for Total Apex Sports. Despite being based in Connecticut, she is a big fan of the New York Rangers and the Minnesota Wild. They host a weekly podcast and radio show, Round the Rink, where they discuss hockey from the NHL to the PWHL and college hockey. You can follow River on Twitter/X to keep up with her sports content.

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