RECAP: Frankel Shines In Boston's 2-0 Win Over Minnesota

Boston kicked off a stretch of three road games on a high note, shutting out Minnesota 2-0.

RECAP: Frankel Shines In Boston's 2-0 Win Over Minnesota
Theresa Schafzahl celebrates her goal with her teammates. Photo by Kelly Hagenson/PWHL.

For the first time this season, Boston has won consecutive regulation games. They beat Minnesota 2-0 yesterday thanks to an outstanding performance from goaltender Aerin Frankel. After starting the week in dead last, they now sit in sole possession of fourth place in the standings and are just one point back of Toronto for third.

Minnesota came out on fire to start this one. They were skating circles around Boston, and they got a power play for their troubles at 7:31 of the period, as Sidney Morin got called for cross-checking. On the power play, Minnesota got several shots, but Boston did a reasonable job of keeping them to the outside, and Frankel made some big saves where needed. Minnesota then continued to dominate for the next several minutes.

Boston’s lone shot of the first half came about four minutes in. But luckily for Boston, Frankel was up to the task, and even though she left a few more rebounds than is typical for her, she made several outstanding saves.

Aerin Frankel makes a save against Minnesota. She is wearing her white jersey, Boston mask, and brown pads.
Aerin Frankel makes a save against Minnesota. Photo by Kelly Hagenson/PWHL.

Boston started to wake up a little as the period went on. At 15:50 of the period, they got their first power play of the day, as Minnesota goaltender Nicole Hensley got called for tripping. She is the first goaltender to be penalized in PWHL history. Michaela Cava served the penalty for her. Boston got several shots on the power play but was unable to convert. However, it appeared to wake them up, and they played much better for the rest of the period.

At the end of the first, the game was scoreless, with Minnesota outshooting Boston 15-11. Both goaltenders had to come up with several big saves to keep the goose eggs on the board.

It was a relatively uneventful start to the period. The teams traded a couple of chances, but nothing felt particularly dangerous.

However, a little over seven minutes in, Susanna Tapani and Theresa Schafzahl managed to sneak behind Minnesota in the neutral zone, breaking in 2-on-1. Tapani fed it over to Schafzahl, who deked out Hensley and buried her third of the season to give Boston a 1-0 lead at 8:39 of the second period. Jamie Lee Rattray also assisted on the goal.

Just about two minutes later, Frankel had to make perhaps her best save of the game to keep her team in the lead, as she sprawled out to stop a Minnesota 2-on-1.

Boston headed back to the PK at 11:38 of the second, as Tapani got called for interference. Just about a minute into this power play, Minnesota thought they tied it out, but somehow, Frankel managed to keep it out.

Throughout the rest of the period, Minnesota again took over and got the majority of the chances, but Frankel was up to the task again.

The second period ended with Boston leading 1-0 despite being outshot 26-16. Frankel was again outstanding, and she even cleaned up her rebound control a bit. Minnesota got visibly more frustrated as the game stretched on and they were unable to solve her despite numerous great chances.

The third period started feisty. Just 44 seconds in, a big scrum in front of Frankel’s net resulted in 4v4 hockey. Emily Brown got two for cross-checking, while Kendall Coyne Schofield got two for roughing for Minnesota. 

Shortly after the 4v4 expired, another scrum broke out, this time in front of Hensley’s net. But, Boston got the only penalty out of this one, as Müller got called for cross-checking at 3:36 of the third. Luckily for Boston, they put together a strong kill despite a Minnesota surge.

Just a minute later, Boston headed right back to the box, as Emily Brown got called for delay of game at 6:57. Boston managed to kill off this one too but they were playing with fire with all those penalties.

It cannot be understated just how good Frankel was in the third period. She gave up squat for rebounds, and she made some truly outstanding saves to keep her team in the lead. Minnesota was visibly frustrated and a bit dumbfounded as to how they hadn’t been able to beat her.

Minnesota pulled Hensley with about 1:30 remaining, and they got several more chances, but it was Boston who scored instead. With just 7.7 seconds remaining in the game, Gigi Marvin potter her first of the season in her homecoming game, in front of numerous friends and family members. It was Boston's first empty net goal of the season.

Boston took this one by a final of 2-0 despite being outshot 41-23. It was Frankel’s first shutout of the season (and the first in franchise history). 41 saves is also a PWHL record for most saves in a shutout.

Aerin Frankel makes a save against Minnesota. She is wearing her white jersey, Boston mask, and brown pads.
Aerin Frankel makes a save against Minnesota. Photo by Kelly Hagenson/PWHL.

Overall, as you can tell from the shots, this was not Boston’s best overall performance. Minnesota outplayed them for most of the game, but Frankel stood on her head. She’s been great all season, but she took it to a whole new level today and showed why Boston made her one of their first three free-agent signings. However, Boston was also opportunistic offensively, which is a welcome change from the past several games, and they did a lot of little things to try to limit Minnesota’s grade-A chances. So, it was a solid team effort, headlined by a ridiculous performance from Frankel, and it should be a good boost of confidence going forward that they can win games like this.

After the game, head coach Courtney Kessel spoke to reporters about how her team managed to walk out of this one with a win.

"Aerin Frankel," said Kessel. "Honestly, she stood on her head for us. We had quite a few shots against and I'm not sure we should've come out with that one, but we'll take it.”