Dream Gap Tour: Minnesota thrashes New Hampshire to kick off Chicago series

·2 min read
Minnesota's Kendall Coyne Schofield (26) is congratulated by teammates Sophia Shaver (11) and Savannah Harmon during her team's 4-1 victory over New Hampshire in Dream Gap Tour action from the United Centre in Chicago Ill., on Saturday.   (Stacy Revere/Getty Images - image credit)
Minnesota's Kendall Coyne Schofield (26) is congratulated by teammates Sophia Shaver (11) and Savannah Harmon during her team's 4-1 victory over New Hampshire in Dream Gap Tour action from the United Centre in Chicago Ill., on Saturday. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images - image credit)

The Professional Women's Hockey Players Association kicked off the second week of its Dream Gap Tour event on Saturday.

After splitting last week's opening round of games in New York – including one at Madison Square Garden – the barnstorming series took centre stage at yet another fabled NHL rink, the United Center in Chicago, where Minnesota thumped New Hampshire 4-1.

Made up of the top women's hockey players in the world, the Dream Gap tour aims to promote the establishment of a new North American women's league—preferably in partnership with the NHL.

Once again, the action remained high pace, with Minnesota's Abby Roque adding two goals to bring her league-leading tally to five.

WATCH | Abby Roque keeps on scoring to lead Minnesota past New Hampshire:

The afternoon, however, belonged to Nicole Hensley. The 26-year-old goaltender saved 33-of-34 shots to backstop Minnesota to victory. Her shutout spoiled, in the dying seconds, by a last-gasp New Hampshire rush.

After a series of slick passes, Brianna Decker finally got New Hampshire on the board after going unmarked at the back post.

Despite the goal, Hensley appeared to share the joy on the faces of the New Hampshire players. Having foiled them all game, she couldn't help but look up at the remaining 10 seconds on the clock and smile.

Maddie Rolfes and Kendall Coyne Schofield also scored for Minnesota.

This year's edition of the Dream Gap Tour features a unique scoring system: in addition to two points for a win, teams are also awarded points for hat tricks, shutouts and for scoring five or more goals.

Although PWHPA players are currently training out of five hubs: Minnesota, New Hampshire, Toronto, Calgary and Montreal, the two American teams are the only ones currently in action due to COVID-19 related restrictions.

Both Minnesota and New Hampshire will return to the ice on Sunday for the second of their back-to-back series in Chicago. Action from Fifth Third Bank Stadium will be live streamed on CBC Sports beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET.