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Toronto eliminated from the PWHL playoffs after giving up a 2-0 lead against Minnesota

Toronto eliminated from the PWHL playoffs after giving up a 2-0 lead against Minnesota


Taylor Heise scored twice, including the winner in the third period, as Minnesota defeated Toronto 4-1 on Friday to win the semifinal of the best-of-five Professional Women's Hockey League 3-2.

Denisa Krizova and Sophia Kunin scored the remaining goals for Minnesota, which fell behind 2-0 in the series before winning three straight, including Wednesday's 1-0 win in double overtime. Maddie Rooney stopped 27 shots.

Minnesota will face Boston in the six-team PWHL's first Walter Cup final. The best-of-five Walter Cup final starts on Sunday in Boston.

Rebecca Leslie answered for Toronto, which finished first in the standings, 12 points ahead of Minnesota. Kristen Campbell made 27 saves.

LOOK | Minnesota eliminates Toronto and advances to Walter Cup final:

Minnesota beats Toronto in Game 5 to advance to its first PWHL Championship

Minnesota beats Toronto 4-1 and wins their best-of-five semifinal playoff series 3-2. Minnesota will face Boston in the PWHL's first Walter Cup final.

Toronto was forced to move on from veteran forward Natalie Spooner, who led the league in both goals and points in the regular season, after suffering a season-ending knee injury in Game 3.

Boston beat Montreal 3-0 in the other semifinal.

Heise warms up

The top pick in September's first-ever PWHL draft, held at Toronto Heise, snapped the winner past Campbell's glove on a power play at 8:30 of the third after Canadian national team defenseman Jocelyne Larocque was penalized for hooking.

Toronto tried to apply pressure as the clock ticked down but never really posed a threat to Rooney, who replaced Nicole Hensley after Game 1, minus the offensive dynamo before Kunin drove him into the empty net with 1:12 left.

Heise added her second from the open cage with 14.6 seconds left.

Playing in a city of past hockey heartache, Toronto opened the series with 4-0 and 2-0 wins on home ice before Minnesota returned the favor with a 2-0 win and that overtime decision.

Toronto, which picked its semifinal opponent in the PWHL's progressive playoff format, got the first power play and seven of its first eight shots on Friday, but Minnesota came closest to scoring when Grace Zumwinkle's try, which came via Campbell leaked and was brought to safety by defender Allie Munroe.

The visitors continued with their first power play at 7:29 of the second when Kelly Pannek's first shot beat Campbell by five and hit the post before the puck bounced in front for Krizova to bury her second of the series.

Without a goal since late in Game 2, Toronto finally broke through on Rooney just 38 seconds later when Leslie took a pass from Victoria Bach and fired her first to send a packed Coca-Cola Coliseum home from the American Hockey League's Marlies at the Exhibition Place. turns into a towel-waving frenzy.

Minnesota head coach Ken Klee suited up for more than 900 NHL games with seven teams, including parts of two seasons with the Maple Leafs. The former defenseman played a winner-take-all Game 7 in Toronto about 20 years ago, when the Leafs defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-1.

LOOK | Spooner suffers season-ending injury in Game 3 against Minnesota:

Natalie Spooner leaves the match with a lower body injury

PWHL Toronto's Natalie Spooner left the game Monday night with a lower-body injury in the third period of game three against Minnesota.




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