Against the Run of Play: Boston 2, Minnesota 0
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Against the Run of Play: Boston 2, Minnesota 0

Against the Run of Play: Boston 2, Minnesota 0 by Nicole Haase

Despite being outshot 41-23, Boston took a 2-0 win thanks to Aerin Frankel in net and goals from Theresa Schafzahl and Gigi Marvin.

What happened?

Minnesota came out firing, controlling the flow of play early and giving Boston everything they could handle over the opening 15 minutes of play. After the opening push, Boston began to show off their defense, stepping up to the blue line to prevent easy zone entry.

Boston had just four shots before the delayed penalty and ensuing power play, but despite not scoring, the advantage energized the visitors and they finished the period out-shooting Minnesota 7-1 over the final five minutes.

In the second, Minnesota once again took control. They outshot Boston 26-12 over the final two frames and forced Frankel to make save after save. Sophie Jaques and Kendall Coyne Schofield led their team in shots as the Minnesota offense were relentless in trying to find their way through the defense and Frankel.

Against the run of play, Boston opened the scoring. Jamie Lee Rattray put a perfect pass on Susana Tapani's stick at the blue line as Mellissa Channell dove to try and stop it. Tapani fed the puck to Theresa Schafzahl after drawing in the defender and Schafzahl cut across the crease, forcing Nicole Hensley to sprawl. Schafzahl was patient and held the puck and tucked it around Hensley's outstretched leg, just inside the post, to put Boston up 1-0.

It appeared Minnesota had scored on the power play late in the second period, but the play was not reviewed. The goal light did not go on and the broadcast reported that the puck did not cross the goal line, but the overhead replay showed the puck clearly in the net. As it was not reviewed and no further discussion was had, it's unclear if the ref immediately ruled the whistle had blown (or was intended to be blown) or if any off-ice review was done.

Minnesota kept pushing, but could not find an equalizer. They pulled Hensley from the net with about 90 seconds to play and with :08 left on the clock Gigi Marvin picked up a bad pass and scored on the empty net to secure the 2-0 win for Boston.

Three up, three down

↑ Defense – Boston played a spectacular 200 foot game and everyone on the ice contributed to earn this shutout. They were forechecking and meeting Minnesota in the neutral zone, they were disruptive in front of Frankel, particularly through some early bobbles and did not allow second- and third-chance opportunities on loose pucks and were generally pesky and solid in disrupting what could have been a runaway game for the home team.

↓ The power play – The league's two least successful power play units continued their abysmal run. Minnesota was o-for-4 with the player advantage while Boston was 0-for-1.

↑ Gigi Marvin – The Warroad, Minnesota native got to watch her hometown high school and alma mater win a girls hockey championship at the Xcel on Saturday and then she scored her first PWHL goal on Sunday as her empty-netter secured the 2-0 win.

↓ Friendliness – This is a bit tongue in cheek, but honestly, this was possibly the chippiest game of the season so far. Minnesota's frustration grew as the game went on and they couldn't break through and Boston was extra protective of the area around the net. Kendall Coyne Schofield and Jamie Lee Rattray had words for each other and at one point looked like they were circling each other before a fight.

↑ Aerin Frankel – The broadcast spent much of the first period talking about her shaky play and the rebounds she was giving up and much of the third period talking about her strong game. It was quite the flip and a good recovery from her as the home team kept putting pressure on her as the game went on. She earned her first shutout with 41 saves on Sunday.

↓ Minnesota – They are now 2-3 in February and did not make up any ground on Montréal in third place. It's their second straight loss.

VP's Player of the Game

Jamie Lee Rattray – She showcased how versatile and complete her game is on both ends of the ice. Hockey Canada has used her as an extra forward for years and while it's been frustrating to not see her get a more regular role, I think it's largely in part because she reads the game so well and is so adaptable that she can play with anyone. She doesn't need a regular role to shine. She took away time and space from Minnesota on the forecheck, stepped in front of shots, fought for the puck along the boards and, oh yeah, was a driver on the offensive end, leading her team in shots and perfectly hit Susana Tapani with the stretch pass that led to a goal.

Honorable mention to Sophie Jaques and her eight shots on goal. She tried to will her team to that win against the squad that traded her.

(Photo: Kelly Hagenson/PWHL)