First and Last: New York 1, Minnesota 5
- 4 min read

First and Last: New York 1, Minnesota 5

First and Last: New York 1, Minnesota 5 by Zoë Hayden

Minnesota took advantage of a struggling New York team to grab three points in the standings and move, for now, into first place in the league.

What happened?

The game started with New York trying more to frustrate Minnesota than to start anything of their own, and while it was somewhat effective, Corinne Schroeder had to make a few saves from in tight and New York probably wanted to be winning a few more of those one-on-one puck battles.

Michela Cava opened the scoring after beating Madison Packer to a loose puck and wristing a quick shot past Schroeder. Moments later, Zumwinkle was stoned on a wraparound chance, but she wouldn't be denied a second time. A big shot from the point by Sophie Jaques was deflected by Zumwinkle to make it 2-0.

With Minnesota on the power play late in the period, Lee Stecklein held up Abby Roque on a breakaway chance to even up at 4-on-4. Teams traded even more breakaways – Kendall Coyne Schofield was stopped by Schroeder, and Ella Shelton hit the crossbar above Maddie Rooney stick side. The intermission seemed to come at an unfortunate time for New York who looked like they were starting to wake up.

The second period was a little stop-and-start for New York but they started battling back and got some shots on net. Savannah Norcross and Jill Saulnier created a chance off a forecheck and shortly after Minnesota flipped the puck out of play and ended up shorthanded, but New York was unable to capitalize. Minnesota extended their lead to 3-0 on a long shot from Claire Butorac through a few bodies at a sharp angle, which also became Sydney Brodt's first assist of the season after being activated off of LTIR.

New York kept making little miscues – passing across the blueline to no one, or passing onto a Minnesota player's stick. Minnesota very nearly went up 4-0 after a fruitless power play chance, but Shelton and Alex Carpenter kept the puck out of a wide-open net.

New York ended up with another late power play at the end of the second. It didn't start with much, as Ella Shelton immediately turned the puck over at the blueline, but Shelton came back and set up Eldridge to take a blast that Abby Roque was able to deflect past Rooney. With 1:40 to go in the frame, New York decided to go get one more and loaded up with Carpenter, Roque, and Eldridge again, but they didn't score and the buzzer came at yet another inopportune time for the visitors.

The third period was more of the same. Midway through the period, in a 16-second timespan, Minnesota scored two more goals. First, Taylor Heise sped past Taylor Baker to create a 2-on-1 chance with Cava. Heise fed Cava whose no-hesitation shot beat Corinne Schroeder. Off the next faceoff, Johanna Fällman gave the puck away in her own zone after a dump-in by Minnesota. Heise jumped on the loose puck near the blueline and passed to Zumwinkle, who flipped a long backhand pass perfectly to Kendall Coyne Schofield waiting by the side of the net. Coyne Schofield put it past Schroeder for the 5-1 lead.

New York just really couldn't get anything going, and they still sit last in the PWHL. They have lost seven games in a row.

Three up, three down

↑↓ Close games – Minnesota has started coming out on top in games by multi-goal margins on this 4-game win streak. In these last 4 games, they have scored 15 goals and conceded just 4. It's an offensive tear that is heating up at the right time late in the regular season for them. For New York, Boston, and Ottawa (the teams currently occupying the bottom half of the standings), it's been impossible to play against. It'll be interesting to see if Minnesota can press this offense against the teams they are competing with for the #1 spot in the league. They only have two remaining regular season games against teams currently in that top half of the standings: April 24 in Montreal and May 1 in Toronto.

↑ Quick – Minnesota scored two goals quickly two times in this game. First, they scored twice in a span of 1:03 in the first, then in a span of 0:16 in the third. That's demoralizing for any opponent.

↓ Stealing and almost-stealing games – New York has had such a knack for keeping games close but this was a bit of a nadir for them. Schroeder can only do so much. This is the biggest margin of victory against New York so far this season.

Michela Cava – She's absolutely thriving on that top line with Heise and Coyne Schofield, where she's been since Abigail Boreen's second 10-day contract concluded to take her out of the lineup. Cava has 3 goals in her last 2 games, and it's awesome to see her earn that spot since she was an essential player who filled in with top six minutes and responsibilities while Heise and Liz Schepers were dealing with injuries.

↓ Some streaks are sad – New York owns the longest losing streak in PWHL history, having dropped seven games in a row. Ottawa has lost five straight and four straight at different points in the season (including currently), and Toronto and Boston have had four-game losing streaks. Minnesota's longest losing streak has been just three games. (Montreal, for their part, has never lost more than two in a row going into their matchup with Toronto in Pittsburgh.)

VP's Player of the Game

Grace Zumwinkle – Her goal was a great redirection, but her long-distance backhand pass to Coyne Schofield for the nail-in-the-coffin fifth goal was special. She's on a five-game points streak with 2 goals and 5 assists in that timespan, and she had an eye-popping eight shots on net in this game alone.

  • Game replay link (YouTube) – The PWHL has started posting "condensed game archive" video, after taking their videos private after broadcast as of late. Check their video uploads page for the game archive content as it becomes available. (This game is not yet as of press time.)
  • Game data

(Photo: Kelly Hagenson/PWHL)