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Muller scores in second OT, Boston forces decisive Game 5 with Minnesota

Minnesota's Michela Cava (86) attempts to score against Boston goalie Aerie Frankel (31) in the first period of Game 4 of the PWHL Walter Cup hockey finals in St. Paul, Minn., Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP)/

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Alina Muller scored 18:36 into the second overtime to give Boston a 1-0 win over Minnesota on Sunday night, sending the battle for the Walter Cup as the first Professional Women's Hockey League champion to a fifth and deciding game.

The do-or-die game is Wednesday in Boston at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell.

Theresa Schafzahl picked off a loose puck before she exited the Minnesota end, turned back to the middle of the ice and dropped a pass back to her right to Muller, who skated into the circle and beat Nicole Hensley high over her glove.

The goal came exactly a minute after a Minnesota goal was waved off because of goalie interference, bringing a cascade of boos from the record crowd of 13,104 at Xcel Energy Center.

Taylor Heise carried the puck down the left side and went down as she cut to the goal. The puck slipped back to Sophie Jaques, who put it in the net as Heise crashed into Boston goalie Aerin Frankel.

“After that overturned goal, I knew we were going to get it,” Muller said. We had more power, more speed. It was on our side.

“ … Now we’re going to bring it home and we’re going to finish it. Unbelievable effort.”

Boston head coach Courtney Kessel said Müller's determination has been obvious during the playoffs.

"I'm not sure who I spoke to yesterday, two days ago, but they asked me who they should be watching out for, and I said Müller," said Kessel. "She's a tremendous 200-foot hockey player who can put the puck in the back of the net. We've been waiting for it all year and we knew it was there. Just so happy to see that happen and just watch her grow.”

Minnesota head coach Ken Klee said he's confident his squad can win the Walter Cup on the road.

"We had lots of chances to win (Sunday's) game. So, for us, we get to play another game and that's the way we have to look at it. It wasn't a do-or-die for us. (Losing at home) hurt but now we go back to work.”

Frankel made 33 saves and Hensley had 32.

Frankel leads all goaltenders in the post-season in wins (five), shots against (257), saves (245) and minutes played (523:33). The goaltender has started all seven games for her team this post-season.

Futility on the power play continued for both teams, who entered the game without a man-advantage goal on six attempts. Minnesota went 0-for-5 and is now 2-for-26 in nine playoff games. Boston went 0-for-3 and is 0-for-15 in seven playoff games.


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The Associated Press

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