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Hensley makes 33 saves as Minnesota holds off Boston in PWHL debut for both teams


LOWELL, Mass. (AP) — Taylor Heise and Sophia Kunin each scored less than eight minutes into the game, Nicole Hensley made 33 saves and Minnesota beat Boston 3-2 on Wednesday night in the Professional Women’s Hockey League debut for both franchises.

Heise, the No. 1 overall pick, scored the first goal in Minnesota history — and the first league goal scored on American ice early in the first period. Kunin capitalized on another Boston turnover and beat Aerin Frankel with a shot from the circle.

Theresa Schafzahl, a former star for Vermont, scored the first goal in PWHL Boston history, cutting Minnesota’s lead to 2-1 at 7:59 of the second period. But Grace Zumwinkle, a University of Minnesota alum, scored just 55 seconds later with a shot off the crossbar from the slot to regain a two-goal advantage.

Megan Keller sent in a shot from the blue line for a power-play goal with 2:40 to go. But Hensley sealed it with a glove save at the final horn.

Minnesota had just one week to prepare — for Boston and four-time Olympian Hilary Knight — with its new coach Ken Klee after Charlie Burggraf suddenly resigned during the holiday break.


Minnesota plays its home opener at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday against Montreal.

Boston stays home to play Ottawa on Monday.