Members of the East Ridge girls’ hockey team sat on the bench Wednesday night, and the way senior forward Anya Hafiz tells the story, kept repeating similar statements.
“Can she please just let one in?” they said.
Since the last time East Ridge scored on Apple Valley goalie Taylor DeForrest early in the second period, parents had run to and from the store across from Woodbury’s Bielenberg Sports Center to get Powerade, oranges and bananas for their girls. Apple Valley coach Don Erdall ran out of water but kept yelling anyway until he said his voice sounded like a 14-year-old’s. He then asked about covering up the clock so players wouldn’t know how late in the night it was.
The ice was resurfaced again and again, and East Ridge kept shooting.
DeForrest kept saving, 111 out of 113 shots to be precise, deep into the sixth overtime. She had broken the state record for saves in an overtime game way back in the second extra period.
Then East Ridge’s Hafiz took her team’s 114th shot, a backhander that sent the puck into the net. Her goal gave the Raptors a 3-2 victory in the Class 2A, Section 3 quarterfinal to end the longest girls’ hockey game in state history at 121 minutes, 58 seconds.
“I’ve been a hockey coach for 36 years, and never seen anything like that,” East Ridge’s Tom Kulenkamp said.
In the early minutes of Thursday morning, still Wednesday night to anyone who cared, the Apple Valley girls sat in their locker room and cried.
They cried happy tears in a way, DeForrest said, but the team’s season was over. There wasn’t enough time or concern to focus on the historic game they just played.
That changed in the light of morning.
DeForrest said she had been too tired to sleep. The fact her phone was buzzing again and again, as people texted her and tagged her in social media posts, didn’t help. National media picked up the story. So did the likes of former NHL star Mike Modano and ESPN’s John Buccigross via Twitter. She put her phone on “Do Not Disturb.”
Initial reports had DeForrest, a junior, making 112 saves in the game. But East Ridge’s official records, which Erdall didn’t dispute, had the winning team taking 114 shots — and DeForrest stopping all but three.
DeForrest’s 111 saves smashed the previous state record of 59 in an overtime game, set in 2013 in a state tournament semifinal game that also went six overtimes. Her total fell short of the mark for a regulation-time game.
That record is held by Taylor Baumhoefner of Worthington, who stopped 118 shots in a 2007 game against New Ulm, according to the Minnesota State High School League record book.
DeForrest’s counterpart for East Ridge, Chloe Heiting, stopped 38 shots, making “some spectacular saves,” Erdall said.
But it was DeForrest who spent part of Thursday afternoon in front of media cameras from all over the metro, talking about the best night of her career.
“It was obviously really sad that our season ended, but knowing that we literally gave all we could out on the ice and that there was no more we could do was a good feeling,” she said.
East Ridge took a 2-0 lead over Apple Valley before Sophia Leong scored two goals, her second tying the game in the third period. Leong played the game’s final 95 minutes without leaving the ice.
“It’s something that you can’t explain,” Erdall said. “I don’t know that it will ever be duplicated. If it is, let me know in advance so I can buy a ticket.”
On the other side, Hafiz said she didn’t know until she woke up she was part of a record-breaking game. In a group text with her teammates, players said they were too tired and sore to walk up the stairs at East Ridge High School.
East Ridge, which had started its season by defeating Apple Valley 3-0, advances to play No. 1-seeded Eastview on Saturday. Apple Valley’s season ended with seven victories, 16 losses, two ties and one game for the ages.
“It’s hard to top,” DeForrest said. “[My next game] is going to feel pretty short.”