The Minnesota Whitecaps fall 4-3 in overtime to Toronto in the Isobel Cup

Toronto Six veteran Tereza Vanisova scored a 4-3 win in 4 minutes and 23 seconds in 3-on-3 overtime against a Minnesota Whitecaps team seeking their second Isobel Cup Sunday night in Tempe, Arizona .

Vanisova converted a turnover in the corner into a wrist shot that knocked up Whitecaps goaltender Amanda Leveille.

The Whitecaps won their only Isobel Cup in their inaugural 2019 season when Lee Stecklein’s goal 49 seconds into overtime defeated the Buffalo Beauts 2-1 at home in St. Paul’s Tria Rink.

On Sunday, in the desert, they watched as the other team threw their sticks and gloves in the air.

Whitecaps forward Elk River’s Jonna Albers scored her fifth goal in three playoff games 20 seconds into the third period when she converted Natalie Snodgrass’ pass into a 3-2 lead, Minnesota’s first goal of the night. That goal came on a power play carried over from the second half after Toronto was called for a game delay.

Alber’s goal set a Premier Hockey Federation record for most points in a playoff year.

Toronto reacted the same as the Whitecaps twice before. The Six drew 7:56 in the third period when Taylor Woods got the puck over the goal line from a tangle of players surrounding Leveille.

The Whitecaps had fallen behind twice in the first two periods, but each time they responded with an equalizer before Albers put them ahead.

They leveled the 1-1 draw through former Minnesota State Mankato forward Brittyn Fleming with his second goal of the playoffs, 4:02 of the second half.

They did it again late in the second half when Snodgrass forward Brooke Madsen swept Snodgrass’s pass past Toronto goaltender Elaine Chuli at 4:06 p.m.

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“It’s super important that we have input from all lines,” Madsen said in a second break interview on ESPN2. “It was a great pass. I just had to stick my stick out and the puck went in.”

The Six went into the game 13-1 when they scored the first goal of the game of the season. Toronto scored 7:22 in the first period on Sunday.

Czech international defender Dominika Laskova took Michela Cava’s backhand pass from near the goal-line after she sent the puck flying down the left cushions, defeating Leveille with a shot that got through the slot before the Whitecaps star could react.

The Whitecaps had reached the finals of the Isobel Cup for the fourth time in five seasons. They lost to Boston in 2021 and 2022 and were scheduled to play the Pride in a 2020 championship game canceled by COVID-19.

This time, they pulled it off with an uneven season that saw them go 10-2 at times before ending an eight-game losing streak.

After securing their last playoff spot in the seven-team league, the Whitecaps went to Boston in fourth place, defeating the two-time Isobel Cup winner and regular-season PHF champion 2-0 in a three-game series.

Sunday’s game marked the first time the cup final was played on home ice for an NHL team. The 5,000-seat Mullett Arena on the Arizona State campus is home to the varsity hockey teams and the Arizona Coyotes.

Sunday’s game marked the first time two head coaches – Toronto’s Engelhardt and Geraldine Heaney – have faced each other in a championship match for the Isobel Cup.

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“I was shocked to hear that this is the first time, but hopefully we can see that more and more,” Engelhardt said on Wednesday.

The Star Tribune did not send the author of this article to the game. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other material.

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