It was 5–1.
The Minnesota Whitecaps pulled off the unthinkable Sunday afternoon, rallying back from down four goals late in the second period to steal a 6–5 win from the Toronto Six.
Things seemed dismal for the Whitecaps in the first period as Toronto leapt out to a 3–0 lead, chasing star goaltender Amanda Leveille from the net. Things went from bad to worse as Leveille was thrown back in the crease to start the second period and Minnesota fell behind 5–1 with 1:32 remaining in the frame.
Then the tides turned.
Haylea Schmid answered back for the Caps just 31 seconds after the fifth Six goal. Then Hayley Mack struck with 12 seconds left in the period. All of a sudden, the Whitecaps had life.
Then an Audra Richards shorthanded breakaway goal with seven minutes remaining in regulation. Then a Meaghan Pezon power-play snipe at 5-on-3 to even the score. Regulation ended with the score deadlocked at 5. Overtime was action packed, but goalless.
Then Jonna Curtis scored a goal in the third round of the shootout.
A sequence of events so rapid and chaotic, it’s almost impossible to fathom.
Or at least, it would be if this didn’t all sound so familiar. Haven’t we seen this movie before?
Perhaps even crazier than the comeback itself is that this type of performance is not completely unprecedented in NWHL history. On Feb. 19, 2017, the Metropolitan Riveters trailed the Connecticut Whale 5–1. Like Leveille, starting goaltender Katie Fitzgerald was pulled from the game after a rocky start, in favor of backup Sarah Bryant, only to be put back in the game later. The Riveters chipped away with four unanswered goals, tying the game with a power-play goal in the third period. The game would head to extra time tied 5–5 before Courtney Burke sealed the deal for Metro.
The similarities are pretty eerie.
“It was a lot of fun to see the energy on the bench,” said Whitecaps assistant coach Laura Slominski. “Our girls always believed in themselves and just stuck with it. We know it’s a long game and anything can happen, and they did a great job of sticking with it to the very end.”
“In the second period, the last two minutes, those big goals were a big momentum changer for us,” commented forward Winny Brodt-Brown. “It probably put Toronto a little on their heels heading into the third, and we took that momentum and rolled with it.”
A dramatic come-from-behind victory like this doesn’t happen every day. For the 42-year-old Brodt Brown, who has been a Whitecap since 2004, it’s a memory that will last for a long time.
“When we won the Isobel Cup in overtime, that’s a tough one to beat,” she laughed. “But this one is pretty up there.”
Hey, everything else is getting a reboot these days. Why not four-goal comebacks?