Since top pick Taylor Heise suffered an upper-body injury four games ago, PWHL Minnesota has gone 2-2 with just five goals scored, the fewest in the league during that time, and lost 2-0 to Boston in a defensive battle Sunday at Xcel Energy Center.

Yet despite the absence of one of the team's best players, coach Ken Klee said there's no excuse why the team can't generate offense.

"It certainly wasn't a lack of our team trying. We just couldn't execute the final," Klee said. "We had great looks. We get those looks, most of the nights, they're going in for us. [We've] got to keep working. Hockey's not always kind to you in that way."

Minnesota outshot Boston in all three periods (41-23 total) and had three more power plays but wasn't able to score in a chippy game that was physical and had several shoving matches in the third. Even with a number of quality looks, Minnesota was unable to put any of its shots in the back of the net.

Alternate captain and former Gopher Kelly Pannek, from Plymouth, agreed with her coach that the team needs to find ways to score even without Heise and Liz Schepers, who also missed Sunday's game due to injury.

"It obviously doesn't help that we've had some shakeups in our lineup with some people out, but we have plenty of talent and skill on this team to put the puck in the net," Pannek said. "Sometimes, it's just not your night, but I think the fact that we did put 40 shots on net, I felt like we were consistent throughout three periods of getting pucks to the net. Can't score if you don't do that, so at least getting ourselves a chance.

"It's hard when you don't [score] in a game, but luckily, there is always the next one."

BOXSCORE: Boston 2, Minnesota 0

Theresa Schafzahl had Boston's first goal midway through the second period, an unassisted backhand shot that appeared effortless, and Gigi Marvin of Warroad scored an empty-netter with six seconds remaining. Both goalies put on a shot-stopping clinic, as Boston's Aerin Frankel tallied 41 saves and Minnesota's Nicole Hensley had 21.

With the regulation loss, Minnesota remains second in the PWHL standings with 21 points but drops to 5-2-2-4. The victory for Boston (4-2-2-4) moved it into fourth place with 18 points.

Right from the puck drop, Minnesota put pressure on Boston's defense. Within the first 10 minutes, the home squad fired off 11 shots to Boston's one, including a power-play barrage in which Frankel blocked a trio of outside shots in quick succession.

Boston eventually found its mojo, launching eight consecutive attempts at the net late in the first, but it came to no avail as the goaltenders on both teams shined through one period.

Minnesota resumed its shooting attack with five of the first six second-period shots, but it was Boston that made its attempt matter. Schafzahl took her time gliding up the left side of the ice before crossing in front of the net, then slapped a backhand shot over Hensley's pads for the first goal of the afternoon.

The score reflected a dichotomy of pace between the two squads, with Minnesota moving quickly to get off as many shots as possible, while its adversary spent a much longer time per possession waiting to find the ideal shot.

Holding on to the lead, Boston locked down its defensive anchor in the third, snuffing any Minnesota scoring opportunity in its tracks. Grace Zumwinkle, Abby Boreen and Pannek all found good looks at the net, but Frankel stood tall in every contest, keeping her opponents scoreless and earning Boston's second win over Minnesota in three attempts this year.

In a last-gasp effort, captain Kendall Coyne Schofield intercepted a pass in enemy territory and fired it directly at the goal, with Frankel winning the one-on-one after another deflection in the clutch.