Finnish Forward Tapani Lifts PWHL Minnesota Over Ottawa In OT For 4th Win In 5 Games | CBC Sports

Professional Women’s Hockey League

It wasn’t so long ago that Susanna Tapani was scoring goals in ringette games, but Wednesday night she was right at home scoring twice, including the overtime game-winner as visiting Minnesota beat Ottawa 3-2 in the Professional Women’s Hockey League.

Zumwinkle scores short-handed equalizer as Minnesota overcomes 2-goal deficit

Lisa Wallace · The Canadian Press

· Posted: Jan 17, 2024 10:22 PM EST | Last Updated: 10 hours ago

Minnesota’s Grace Zumwinkle celebrates her short-handed goal against host Ottawa with Susanna Tapani as she steps out of the penalty box during the second period of their team’s 3-2 overtime win on Wednesday night at TD Place. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)It wasn’t so long ago that Susanna Tapani was scoring goals in ringette games, but Wednesday night she was right at home scoring twice, including the overtime game-winner as visiting Minnesota beat Ottawa 3-2 in the Professional Women’s Hockey League.

Tapani scored 1:57 into overtime as her shot went in off Ottawa’s Jincy Roese’s stick leaving Ottawa’s Emerance Maschmeyer, who made 17 saves, with little chance to make the save.

Grace Zumwinkle also scored for Minnesota.

Tapani recently competed in SM Ringette, the top elite league in her native Finland, and has been a six-time Finnish national champion, four-time MVP, and four-time scoring leader of the league.

The 30-year-old made the decision to play in the new professional women’s league and through five games has two goals and three assists for Minnesota (4-0-1).

WATCH l Tapani sinks Ottawa in OT:

Minnesota scores on lucky redirect to sink Ottawa in overtimeSusanna Tapani’s pass finds its way into the back of the net to give Minnesota the 3-2 victory in the extra frame.

Minnesota trailed 2-0 after Ottawa’s Savannah Harmon and Lexie Adzija each scored first period goals for Ottawa (1-0-2).

“The start wasn’t the easiest for us,” admitted Tapani. “But we talked it through after the first periods and then we just knew that we were going to come back and score those goals. Two goals is nothing and, yeah, we just showed our team today, like, what we can do.”

Minnesota rallied in the second period.

They cut the lead in half with a power-play goal just three minutes into the period when Tapani beat Maschmeyer glove side.

Tapani had been in the penalty box and her teammates were more than happy to see her freed as a PWHL rule states that a penalty comes to an end if a short-handed goal is scored.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” said Minnesota head coach Ken Klee. “I mean it’s a bit like dodgeball, the switcheroo. Like, you catch the dodgeball and you gain a player and they lose one. So, it’s definitely a momentum changer for the game which I’ve never seen. So, it’s kind of fun.”

Missed opportunitiesOttawa, who is still looking for its first home win, had a couple of great chances late in the third period.

With just over five minutes remaining in regulation Ottawa had two great chances. Adzija missed a wide-open net and Gabbie Hughes, a native of Minnesota, had a shot stopped on the goal line from a diving Hensley to the dismay of the 5,609 on hand at TD Place.

“I think we had a lot of bounces throughout the whole game and they just weren’t going in for us,” said Hughes. “On that particular shift I got a great pass from [Emily] Clark and hit the post and the goalie came out of the net and empty-netter and the goalie made a great save with her stick, so props to [Nicole] Hensley for playing so good. Can’t really do much about it.”

WATCH l CBC Sports’ Hockey North breaks down Week 3 in PWHL:

Heise shines, Poulin gets 1st hat trick, and Toronto’s early struggles in the PWHLHost Rob Pizzo is joined by former women’s hockey player Saroya Tinker to break down the third week of action in the inaugural PWHL season.

Hensley was solid for Minnesota making 24 saves.

This marked the first of a three-game homestand and despite the loss coach Carla MacLeod liked a lot of what she saw and isn’t pushing any panic buttons.

“We’re just three games in,” said MacLeod. “We won’t use that excuse at the 21st game necessarily but right now we’re still young and we’re still learning and in every game we’ve had moments where we’re really confident and where we waver, but that’s so normal.”

MacLeod said at this point the team is focused on getting better each game.

Harmon opened the scoring for Ottawa at 3:41 of the first when she came down the left side and found space to go bar down short side.

Seven countries are represented between the two team’s rosters: Canada, United States, Finland, the Czech Republic, Japan, Hungary and Germany. Three of PWHL Minnesota’s players hail from Ontario, Thunder Bay’s Michela Cava, Burlington’s Emma Greco, and Kingston’s Amanda Leveille.

The post-game handshake made its return Wednesday after a miscommunication led to its absence following Montreal’s home win over New York on Tuesday, the league said in a statement.

“The PWHL regrets this lapse in protocol and apologizes for any confusion it may have caused our fans.” 

Ottawa hosts Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 23, while Minnesota travels to Montreal on Wednesday, Jan. 24.

The full schedule of PWHL games airing on CBC Sports this season is available here.

WATCH l PWHL players discuss which player they’re least looking forward to facing:

PWHL players answer which player they’re least excited to faceCBC Sports asks PWHL players at pre-season camp, which player they’d least want to face in the inaugural season of the PWHL.

With files from CBC Sports

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *