The first semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Whitecaps and the Connecticut Whale took place this afternoon. The Whale come into this matinee having swept all four regular season games against the Whitecaps.
Here is how the two teams would line up:
There was no scoring in the first period, but there were plenty of offensive chances. Both goalies, Leveille and Ives, came up with all of the stops. The Whale had the slight advantage in the shot department, as they led in that category by a count of 12-9.
In the second period, it wouldn’t take long for the first goal of the game. It came from the top seeded Connecticut Whale. After Audra Morrison of the Whitecaps rang two posts. (The play went to review and was determined that the puck never crossed the line.) The Whale’s very next offensive chance saw their leading scorer Kennedy Marchment pick up the puck in the left corner, and skate towards the net. When Leveille went down, Marchment roofed the shot over her glove and in the top corner.
Four minutes later, the Whitecaps would tie up the game. Patti Marshall would carry the puck out of the defensive zone. She would make a couple of dekes and get around three Whale players, which led to a 2 on 1. She fumbled the puck, but quickly recovered and managed to get a pass off that got by the sliding Whale defender. The puck would find Minnesota’s leading scorer Allie Thunstrom, who was able to deflect the puck over a sprawling Ives and into the roof of the net.
The Whale would answer right back a minute later, and re-establish their lead. While having a great offensive possession, the pass from Hannah Bates would go across the blue line to Allie Munroe. Munroe would take the shot from the point, that would get deflected in front of Amanda Leveille. The deflection coming from Janine Weber, managing to get the puck over Leveille’s shoulder.
Later in the period, the Whale would get called for too many players on the ice, giving the Whitecaps a power play. Minnesota, on the ensuing power play, would manage to stash the puck home, and once again tie up the game. A shot from the point by Sydney Baldwin would miss the net entirely, but the puck would deflect hard off the back boards. The puck would then find the stick of Ashleigh Brykaliuk, as she got the puck past a sprawling Ives.
The Whale would once again have a great response and re-establish their lead for a third time in the game. The goal coming 14 seconds after the Whitecaps had tied up the game. A pass from the point from Shannon Turner would find a wide open Kennedy Marchment right at the goal line. She would then get Leveille to commit to the slide to stop her, and Marchment would send the pass to the front of the net. The puck would find a streaking Alyssa Wohlfeiler, who had a wide open net to tap it home.
Before the end of the second period, the Connecticut Whale would establish their first two goal lead of the game. An offensive rush on the left side would see Samoskevich launch a shot that would miss the short side. The rebound would find the stick of Shannon Turner. She would kick the pass over to Tori Howran, who sent the shot towards the net. The puck would deflect off the Whitecaps defender and get past Leveille. The Whale would take a 4-2 lead heading into the third period.
That would be all the scoring in this game, as there were no goals in the third period. The Whitecaps had their chances, as two penalties were called against the Whale. The Whale had the slight lead, once again in the shot department, by a count of 9-5. But Abbie Ives would have all the answers, as the Whale would go on to win the game by a score of 4-2. For the first time in team history, the Connecticut Whale will play for the Isobel Cup, and will await the winner of the second semifinal matchup between the Boston Pride and the Toronto Six.
Amanda Leveille of the Whitecaps would face 35 shots, making 31 saves; while Abbie Ives of the Whale would face 24 shots, making 22 saves.
The next game for the Connecticut Whale will be for the Isobel Cup. That matinee set to take place tomorrow at 9p.