Six edge Whitecaps in OT to capture first Isobel Cup in franchise history
TEMPE, Ariz. — The Minnesota Whitecaps turned heads when they swept the powerful Boston Pride in the Premier Hockey Federation playoffs.
And they really captured the Toronto Six's undivided attention when they went ahead 3-2 early in the third period of the Isobel Cup championship game at Mullett Arena on Sunday night.
But the Six, who finished second overall in the seven-team women's professional hockey circuit this season and became the first Canadian team to appear in the championship game, didn't panic, eventually tying the game 3-3 to force overtime.
After numerous close calls in overtime, in which the Six dominated the first four minutes, Tereza Vanisova scored at 4:23 of the 3-on-3 extra period to give the Six a thrilling 4-3 victory.
Vanisova set up her own goal by outmuscling Liz Schepers in the right corner to force a turnover. Vanisova then drove alone to the net and lifted a shot over goalie Amanda Leveille’s left shoulder to secure the first Isobel Cup final to not feature one of the PHF's original four franchises.
Vanisova, a member of the Czech national women’s team, joined Boston Pride captain Jillian Dempsey in becoming just the second player to win three career Isobel Cup titles. Vanisova signed with Toronto after winning championships in each of the past two seasons with Boston.
The Six opened the scoring at 7:22 of the first period on a slick goal by Dominika Laskova. Brittyn Fleming tied it at 4:02 of the second period, and the Six regained the lead at 10:27 when Breanne Wilson-Bennett got a fortunate bounce off the end boards and beat scrambling Whitecaps' goalie Leveille before she could get back into position.
Brooke Madsen tied the game 2-2 on a beautiful shot from the wing that cleanly beat Six goalie Elaine Chuli at 16:06.
With 91 seconds left in the second period, the Six were assessed a delay of game bench minor. That penalty allowed the Whitecaps to take a 3-2 lead 20 seconds into the third period as Jonna Albers scored on the power play. Natalie Snodgrass picked up her second assist of the game on the play.
Taylor Woods pulled the Six even at 3-3 at 7:56 of the third. Michela Cava picked up her second assist of the game on the goal.
Toronto outshot Minnesota 39-24.
POKE CHECKS: The Minnesota Whitecaps won the Isobel Cup in 2019 by edging the Buffalo Beauts 2-1 in overtime. The Whitecaps were runners-up in 2021, losing 4-3 to the Boston Pride. In 2020 the Whitecaps-Pride final was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. … Earlier in the day at Mullett Arena, the Colorado Avalanche defeated the host Arizona Coyotes 4-3 in a shootout.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 26, 2023.