Tereza Vanišová broke a 3-3 tie just 4:23 into overtime to help the Toronto Six capture its first-ever Isobel Cup over the Minnesota Whitecaps on Sunday night at Mullett Area in Tempe, Arizona.
The Six became the first Canadian team in the PHF to win the championship, and are the first Canadian team to win a professional women's hockey title since the CWHL's Calgary Inferno won the CWHL's Clarkson Cup in 2019.
Geraldine Heaney also became the second woman to win the Isobel Cup as a head coach since 2019, when Ronda Engelhardt won as a co-head coach with the Whitecaps. Sunday's game marked the first time two teams coached by women competed for the title.
What started off as a duel between two of the top goaltenders in the PHF – Toronto's Elaine Chuli and Minnesota's Amanda Leveille – quickly broke open with offensive flair on both ends of the ice.
Dominika Lásková opened the scoring at 7:22, receiving a backhand pass from Michela Cava in front and putting the puck top shelf over Leveille.
Despite going down 0-1 in the first, the Whitecaps certainly came to play. They outshot the Six by a 12-3 margin in the opening frame, then quickly tied it 4:02 into the second. Brittyn Fleming picked up the puck behind the net, came around to the front and beat Chuli.
The back-and-forth continued throughout the rest of the period, with Breanne Wilson-Bennett regaining the lead for Toronto at 10:27. The Six got Leveille moving behind the net, and although she was able to get back in position, she couldn't make the slide over in time to stop Wilson-Bennett from shoveling it in.
Just as quickly, the Whitecaps tied the game again, as Brooke Madsen was in the right place at the right time to tip the puck in past Chuli. Madsen's goal made it 2-2 with less than four minutes to play in the second period.
Jonna Albers gave Minnesota its first lead on the power play just 20 seconds into the third period, when she received a no-look pass from Natalie Snodgrass in front of the net. The Whitecaps were on the advantage thanks to a delay of game penalty being served by the Six from the end of the second period.
The Minnesota lead stood for 7:36, until Taylor Woods tied it again, getting the last touch on a loose puck among a sea of bodies in front of the net.
Tied after regulation, the game was forced to overtime. Protocol for the championship game was 20 minutes of sudden-death, 3-on-3 overtime. If the score was still tied after 20 minutes, it would have gone to a shootout.
It took 4:23 for Vanišová to notch the championship-winning goal, sending Toronto to its first title since joining the PHF in 2019.
Vanišová's goal capped off a championship-caliber season for the Six, who finished the Premier Hockey Federation's regular season second in league standings. The Six then took care of the third-place Connecticut Whale in a three-game semifinal series, advancing to the Isobel Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.
(Photo: Kate Frese/PHF)