It took an extra 49 seconds of hockey, but in their first NWHL season, the Minnesota Whitecaps won the 2019 Isobel Cup, beating the Buffalo Beats 2-1.
Lee Stecklein had the game-winning goal with a blast from the point that went five-hole on Nicole Hensley.
The only other goals in the game came towards the end of the first period. Beauts defender Emily Pfalzer opened the scoring from the point. One minute and 22 seconds later, Whitecaps forward Amy Menke tied the game.
The Whitecaps were founded in 2004 by Jack Brodt, one of the co-coaches this season, as a place to play after college. They played in the Western Women’s Hockey League, a Canadian league, from 2004-2011. Starting in 2008-09, the regular season WWHL champions would go on to play CWHL teams for the Clarkson Cup. The Whitecaps now have the unique distinction of being the only team to play in and win both the Clarkson Cup (2010) and the Isobel.
When the WWHL and the CWHL merged ahead of 2011-12, the Whitecaps were not included. They became an independent team and played an exhibition schedule of high school, college, and a few NWHL teams.
In post-game interviews on the ice, Lee Stecklein and captain Winny Brodt-Brown both referenced what this win means to the whole organization.
“I’d really like to thank to the Brodt family for carrying it for all these years,” Steckelin said to Blake DuDonis of the NWHL.
Brodt-Brown, who has been with the team since the inception over a decade ago, said the team flew out Kristie Minkoff, another original member, who kept the team going years ago.
“It’s been such an emotional rollercoaster today,” she said to DuDonis. “Just having this ending is the icing on the cake ... for everything we’ve put into it, all the years we’ve all put into it. It’s a dream come true, being able to do it with my coaches Ronda [Engelhardt] and Slomo [Laura Slominski] who were my teammates back in the day, and my dad, what with he’s done to keep it going.”
The Whitecaps win marks the first time a female head coach has won the Isobel Cup, as Engelhardt was a co-coach with Brodt. It is also the fourth team to win the Cup in as many seasons.
BEAUTS GOAL - Emily Pfalzer (Blake Bolden, Annika Zalewski) at 17:01 in the first period
WHITECAPS GOAL - Amy Menke (Kendall Coyne Schofield, Lee Stecklein) at 18:23 in the first period
WHITECAPS GOAL - Lee Stecklein (Katie McGovern) at 49 seconds in overtime