Butorac’s goal in second overtime leads Minnesota over Toronto to force Game 5

Claire Butorac scored the game-winning goal in double overtime and Maddie Rooney earned her second consecutive shutout to lift PWHL Minnesota to a 1-0 win over PWHL Toronto in Game 4 and force a deciding Game 5.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Claire Butorac scored early in the second overtime to give Minnesota a 1-0 win over Toronto on Wednesday night to force a decisive fifth game in the semifinal series.

It was the fourth-straight shutout in the series but the first to go into overtime. The home team has won each game with Game 5 back in Toronto on Friday. 

Minnesota goalie Maddie Rooney made 19 saves for her second-straight shutout. Toronto’s Kristen Campbell had 28 saves, including 14 in the third period to help get the game into overtime. Butorac’s goal was Minnesota’s only shot in the second overtime.

“When you (have) your season on the line and you’re back at home, that’s a good feeling. You can take it as pressure, or you can take it as we played well at home all year,” Minnesota head coach Ken Klee said. 

“Breaking through in Game 3 was just good for our mental confidence and being excited to play hockey and knowing that we can win games.” 

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The winner between top-seeded Toronto and fourth-seed Minnesota will face third-seeded Boston for the inaugural PWHL championship. Boston swept Montreal with three overtime wins.

Toronto played without Natalie Spooner, the league’s leading goal-scorer (20) and scoring champion (27 points) during the regular season. She suffered a knee injury in Game 3 on Monday and has been ruled out for the playoffs. 

“I think it was just a good battle. I thought the back-and-forth— I think it was physical, it was competitive, good goaltending on both sides,” Toronto head coach Troy Ryan said. 

“You know we said in between periods before that last overtime it’s probably going to be an ugly goal. Someone throwing it to the blue paint and whacking at it so, obviously they got to it before we did.” 

Butorac cashed in on a loose puck in front of the net 4:27 into the second overtime. Sophie Jaques dumped the puck from the point behind the net where Liz Schepers got the bounce off the boards and redirected it backwards, through her legs. 

The puck bounced off the side of the net and out front for Butorac to clean up.

The teams combined for five penalties and are now a combined 0 for 20 on power plays in the series.

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