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Boston-Minnesota set to square off in winner-takes-all Game 5 for first-ever PWHL title

PWHL Boston looks to capture league's first title against Minnesota
PWHL Boston looks to capture league's first title against Minnesota 01:53

BOSTON -- The Pro Women's Hockey League will crown its first-ever champion on Wednesday night, with PWHL Boston hosting PWHL Minnesota in a winner-takes-all Game 5 at Tsongas Center in Lowell.

The puck is set to drop around 7 p.m., and a short time later, one team will claim the first Walter Cup as the league's inaugural champion. Boston forced a deciding Game 5 with a 1-0 double overtime win in Minnesota on Sunday, in front of a crowd of over 13,000 fans at the XCel Energy Center. 

Game 5 is sold out, and PWHL Boston can't wait to play in front of its home fans on Wednesday night.

"Obviously to close our season with a win is a goal, but to have all the support from our hometown fans will be outstanding," said captain Hillary Knight. "We are extremely excited and people around Boston are ecstatic. People are trying to get tickets; it's going to be a wild atmosphere."

It should come as no surprise that tickets on the secondary market range from $186 to as much as $2,500. Boston fans love to watch their teams battle for a title.

"It's honestly been incredible," said Jessica Digirolamo. "I mean, there's really no words, it's been amazing and we're just so excited to continue the journey today."

Boston is 1-1 on its home ice this series, winning Game 1 by a score of 4-3 before dropping Game 2, 3-0. Minnesota put Boston on the brink of elimination with a 4-1 win in Game 3, but Boston outlasted them in Game 4 to set up Wednesday night's deciding Game 5.

Boston was led by two former Northeastern stars in Game 4. Alina Müller scored the only goal of the game at the 18:36 mark of the second overtime, the second goal of the postseason for the two-time Swiss Olympian. In net, Aerin Frankel was lights out again with 33 saves over her nearly 99 minutes of action.

Frankel, who guided the Huskies to Hockey East titles in all five of her seasons at Northeastern, owns a .953 save percentage in the playoffs and has allowed just 12 goals on the 245 shots that she's faced. Sunday night was her first shutout of the postseason.

Boston's offense is led by Müller's linemate, Susanna Tapani, who leads the team with three goals this postseason. Acquired by Minnesota during the regular season, Tapani tallied a pair of overtime winners in the semifinal round against Montreal, and had one of Boston's goals in its 4-3 win in Game 1. 

Boston is looking to play its best game of the season and claim the first-ever Walter Cup in front of their home fans on Wednesday night.

"We're really looking forward to hosting Game 5," said PWHL Boston head coach Courtney Kessell. "At the beginning of every year, every team believes they'll be in this final, and here we are. We're just excited to take it all in and enjoy the moment."

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