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Minnesota wins inaugural Walter Cup over Boston

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Minnesota claimed the first Walter Cup with a 3-0 win over Boston in Wednesday's winner-take-all Game 5.

The team's victory concludes the inaugural season of the Professional Women's Hockey League, which began play on Jan. 1.

Liz Schepers opened the scoring in the second period before Michela Cava netted her fourth goal of the series in the third. Captain Kendall Coyne Schofield added an empty-netter.

Nicole Hensley recorded her second shutout of the PWHL Finals with 17 saves. Aerin Frankel stopped 42 of the 44 shots she faced.

Minnesota forward Taylor Heise earned the Ilana Kloss Playoff MVP Award. She paced the playoffs with five goals and was tied for the league lead in scoring with 10 points.

"It's been a roller coaster of emotions," Heise told TSN's Tessa Bonhomme. "I wouldn't want to do it with anyone else. This team's so special, and we are all over the place, but Minnesota's our home right now, and that's something we're gonna bring this back to. We're the state of hockey, and I think that proves it."

Coyne Schofield gave birth to her son Drew the same week the PWHL collective bargaining agreement she helped create was ratified in 2023. The veteran was emotional following Wednesday's victory.

"It means a lot," Coyne Schofield told TSN's Raegan Subban. "It took every single player and every single person you see on this ice right now to make it happen. There's a lot of people that counted us out when we had that seven-game slide coming into the playoffs. We got in, and we never looked back."

Coyne Schofield's teammate Kelly Pannek made it clear how impactful her captain was for the creation of the league.

"She won't say this, but the only reason this happened, from the players' side, is Kendall," Pannek said. "Like legit the only reason. And she hates it, but could not have been a more fitting end for her to be lifting the trophy, for her to score the empty-netter."

The title is Cava's fourth in a row across the PHF and Swedish and Russian leagues.

"Our team battled every friggin' game," Cava told Subban. "We had to play 10 games in how many days? And we all just grinded it out and stuck together. I really feel like our team came together the most in the playoffs."

Minnesota believed it won the Walter Cup in double overtime of Sunday's Game 4, but Heise's goal was overturned for goaltender interference. Boston's Alina Muller scored moments later to force Game 5.

The Walter Cup is named after Mark and Kimbra Walter, who provided foundational support in launching the PWHL. The Walters are also part owners of MLB's Los Angeles Dodgers.

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