P-Dub By The Numbers: The 2024 Playoffs
PWHL Minnesota's players raise the Walter Cup after winning Game 5 of the inaugural PWHL Finals on May 29.
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P-Dub By The Numbers: The 2024 Playoffs

Breaking down some stand-out stats from the first-ever PWHL Walter Cup Playoffs.

P-Dub By The Numbers: The 2024 Playoffs by James Domizio

PWHL Minnesota became the first-ever Walter Cup champions on May 29 at Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell to cap off both the 22-day, 13-game playoff and the five-month, 85-game inaugural season.

But before we send off Season 1 with the PWHL Awards on June 11, let's take a look at the stats behind the 2024 Walter Cup Playoffs.

The score sheet

  • Four goalies shut out their opponents a combined seven times:
    • Toronto's Kristen Campbell vs. Minnesota on May 8 and again on May 10, the first consecutive shutouts in the PWHL.
    • Minnesota's Maddie Rooney vs. Toronto on May 13 and again on May 15.
    • Minnesota's Nicole Hensley vs. Boston on May 21 and again on May 29 in the championship-winning Game 5.
    • Boston's Aerin Frankel vs. Minnesota on May 26, a 98:36-long 2OT shutout.
  • Toronto's Natalie Spooner, the PWHL's regular season leader in goals and points, scored the league's first playoff goal vs. Minnesota on May 8.
  • No team scored more than five goals in a game, and the highest-scoring game was Boston's 4-3 win against Minnesota on May 19.
  • Game 2 between Boston and Montréal lasted 111:24 to become the longest game in PWHL history.
  • Three players had a total of four two-goal games:
    • Toronto's Blayre Turnbull vs. Minnesota on May 8.
    • Minnesota's Taylor Heise vs. Toronto on May 17, and vs. Boston on May 19.
    • Minnesota's Sophie Jaques vs. Boston on May 21.
  • And a dubious first:
    • Sophie Jaques scored the PWHL's first overturned playoff overtime goal in Game 3 before Alina Müller won the game for Boston 1:11 later.
Minnesota forward Taylor Heise accepts the Ilana Kloss Playoff MVP award for her 2023 playoff performance.

Minnesota was dominant in the playoffs, leading in goals for (20 in 10 games), goals for per game (2), goals against per game (1.3), and shutouts (4). They were perfect on the penalty kill, denying all 19 attempts by Toronto and Boston. Four of their six wins were shutouts.

(And yes, the team was also on the receiving end of three shutouts in their four losses, but two of those were their first two playoff games, when they were coming into the playoffs already on a five-game slide and had yet to find their footing.)

While goaltender Nicole Hensley lost her starting spot to Maddie Rooney after letting in four goals against Toronto in Game 1 of their Semi-Final series, she regained it in Game 2 of the Finals and never looked back, eventually securing the series-winning shutout in Game 5.

First overall pick Taylor Heise won the first Ilana Kloss Playoff MVP award after leading the playoffs in goals (5) and points (8). She also led in shooting percentage among players who landed more than 13 shots (17.2% of 29 shots).

Deeper down the lineup, forward Liz Schepers scored her first career PWHL goal — one that proved to be the game winner — in Game 5 vs. Boston.

The runners-up have a lot to be proud of — a four-game win streak to start the playoffs; a 4-0 record in overtime; Aerin Frankel's incredible goaltending — and some things that they'll probably work on this summer — like an 0-for-15 power-play record in eight games.

Frankel's .953 save percentage was second-best among five goalies, and her 1.45 goals against average ranked fourth, but the real eyebrow-raiser is her 300 shots against in eight games. That number is over twice as high as the next closest player: Toronto's Kristen Campbell with 131 in five games played. Even adjusting for her extra three games played, Frankel's 37.5 average shots against per game led all five goalies.

Frankel also set the PWHL single-game saves record with 56 on 57 shots vs. Montréal on May 11.

Speaking of Montréal, goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens possesses the lowest save percentage (0.931) and highest goals against average (1.70) of all goalies in the playoffs. What a great demonstration of the high quality of goaltending in the PWHL: even the "worst-performing" playoff goalie has stats comparable to (and in some cases better than) playoff stats by the NHL's best goalies like Igor Shesterkin and Jeremy Swayman.

Outside of the crease, however, Montréal failed to impress. The team had the lowest goals for (4 in 3 games), lowest goals for per game (1.33), highest goals against (7 in 3 games), and highest goals against per game (2.33).

Leading all goalies in goals against average (0.93) and save percentage (0.962) was another goalie eliminated in the first round: Toronto's Kristen Campbell, who also led the league with 16 wins and 3 shutouts in the regular season.

All stats and photos courtesy of the PWHL.