PWHL Semifinals - Game 2: Minnesota 0, Toronto 2
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PWHL Semifinals - Game 2: Minnesota 0, Toronto 2

PWHL Semifinals - Game 2: Minnesota 0, Toronto 2 by Melissa Burgess

Another night, another shutout and another victory for PWHL Toronto, as the team took a 2-0 lead in its semifinal series against Minnesota with a 2-0 win on Friday evening.

What happened?

Friday's game was much more evenly-matched than the first game of the series, as Minnesota got a chance to settle in Toronto, get in an extra practice and prep themselves. Minnesota played a stronger defensive game – a must-have against the first-place Toronto – and it showed.

Although both sides had chances throughout the duration, it remained scoreless until there was just 1:25 remaining in regulation. That's when Jesse Compher finally broke the stalemate, putting Toronto up 1-0. After Compher was pushed off the puck in the corner, she went to the front of the net. Emma Maltais regained possession and sent the puck up to Renata Fast at the point. Fast's shot was tipped by Compher, putting the puck up high over Maddie Rooney's shoulder and in.

Hannah Miller scored her first of the playoffs via an empty-net goal with 10 seconds left in regulation, providing an insurance marker for Toronto in the 2-0 win.

While Minnesota built a much more successful game against Toronto than they did in Game 1, it turned into a "first goal wins" situation, and Toronto got that tally in under the wire in regulation to take a commanding 2-0 series lead.

Three up, three down

↑ Campbell dominates – We already knew that Kristen Campbell was good, but posting back-to-back shutouts in the playoffs is just on another level. After stopping 26 shots in game one, she was perfect once more, with 21 saves in this one.

↓ A struggling power play – Minnesota's power play struggled yet again, going 0-for-4 on Friday night. I noted in my series preview that this would be a factor for the team to focus on, but so far they've been unable to capitalize. That said, it's only a part of the issue, as they haven't been able to score at all yet, period.

↑ Rooney looked good – Maddie Rooney wasn't Minnesota's number one goaltender over the course of the regular season, playing in 10 games to Nicole Hensley's 14, and I was honestly a bit surprised to see her get the start in game two. That said: you have two good goalies, why not use them both? Hensley got a rest after a tough outing, and Rooney looked great. Now the question is, which goalie do you start on Monday if you're Ken Klee?

↓ Minnesota's offense – Minnesota has to find a way to beat Kristen Campbell. Losing two straight in a best-of-five playoff series is bad enough, but the fact that they haven't even scored once spells disaster for the next game. Adding in the end of the regular season to the equation, Minnesota has scored four goals in its last six games combined, which isn't going to cut it.

↑ Scoring depth – Both of Toronto's goals came from the second and third lines, with Hannah Miller on the wing on the second line and Compher centering the third line. Scoring depth is so important for a team's success, so it's great to see those players step up when it mattered most.

↓ On the brink – Just like that, Minnesota is now on the brink of elimination. They'll need to win the next three games, but first, the focus will be on winning one. The good news, perhaps, is that the teams are now heading to Minnesota, so we'll see if they can capitalize on any sort of home ice advantage to get going in Game 3 and make Toronto's job difficult.

VP's Player of the Game

Blayre Turnbull – Beyond Campbell and the goalscorers, Turnbull had a strong, physical game for Toronto. She was credited with nine hits in a gritty game, more than anyone else from either team, and also put up three shots on goal in 15:08.

  • 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: Alex D’Addese/PWHL)