Minnesota Whitecaps Win Isobel Cup With Thrilling Finish

isobelMinnesota’s Lee Stecklein scored 49 seconds into overtime to give the Whitecaps a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Beauts in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) championship final.  The Isobel Cup win comes in Minnesota’s first season in the NWHL.

The game was a defensive battle with both teams scoring goals in the first period.  The Beauts got the first one on a power play goal by Emily Pfalzer.  Minnesota tied it up just 1:22 later when Amy Menke scored on a breakaway.  The goaltenders shut down opposing offenses the rest of regulation.  Amanda Leveille made 22 saves for the Whitecaps while Nicole Hensley made 28 saves playing for the injured Shannon Szabados.  This was the first time since the NWHL switched to a single-elimination playoff system that the final has gone into overtime to be decided.

The Isobel Cup Final was played at TRIA Rink in Minnesota which was the tenth consecutive sellout for the Whitecaps.

Minnesota finished first in the regular season with a 12-4-0 record then defeated the Metropolitan Riveters 5-1 in the semifinals.  Buffalo finished the NWHL season in second place with an 11-4-1 record and shut out the Boston Pride 4-0 in the semifinals.   This was Buffalo’s fourth straight appearance in the final.  They won the cup in 2017.

The Isobel Cup is the championship trophy awarded to the NWHL champions.  It is named after Lady Isobel Gathorne-Hardy who was one of the first known women to play the game and daughter of Lord Stanley.  The National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup is named after Lord Stanley.