Benilde-St. Margaret's patience and freshman Matthew Dowden's poise kept the Red Knights undefeated and a step closer to their boys' lacrosse state championship mission.
Dowden scored all three of his goals in the second half as undefeated Benilde-St. Margaret's outlasted an undermanned Mahtomedi team in a 9-6 semifinal victory.
Dowden iced Thursday's game at Minnetonka High School with a tremendous individual effort. Possessing the ball behind the Zephyrs goal, he eyed the dwindling scoreboard clock. When the goaltender came out to double-team Dowden, he wiggled free and scored with 1:18 left.
"He's smart," Red Knights coach Rob Horn said. "At the beginning of the year, he might not have made that play but it's a growth thing with freshmen."
The willingness of Benilde-St. Margaret's (17-0) to grind out a victory was missing from its quarterfinal victory.
Winning Thursday required a better effort, even though the No. 5 seed Zephyrs (14-4) were missing two injured attackmen.
"It was definitely thrown together at attack, but they played very well in these circumstances," said senior midfielder Josh Campbell, who scored four goals.
Dowden, who counts some of Mahtomedi's players as friends, said, "They played hard and I give them credit for that even being down two of their best players."
Campbell said: "I'm hoping Benilde can bring it home … They have a couple players that I know very well and they're great kids."
Prior Lake 13, Minnetonka 11: A dominant third quarter sent the Lakers to their first boys' lacrosse state championship game since winning the 2016 crown. The second-seeded Lakers held on to defeat the tournament's No. 3 seed.
Lightning delayed the game's start by a little more than an hour. Later, Minnetonka's 6-5 halftime lead was washed away by a flood of Prior Lake goals.
The Lakers (16-2) roared out of the break with four unanswered goals. Senior Bennet Holst started the comeback, followed by junior Benjamin Jung's second goal, one from junior Luke Bloedow and senior John Leffler's third of the night.
Mason Hurt's second goal of the game stopped Prior Lake's run, but Minnetonka could not rally for more. Senior Brock Penton's second goal put Prior Lake ahead 10-7 after three quarters.
The Lakers' transition game helped them build a 3-1 after the first quarter. Down 5-1 in the second quarter, Minnetonka (15-3) roared back to take a 6-5 halftime lead with five goals in less than eight minutes.