Centennial held a one-goal lead late in its state tournament quarterfinal Thursday and appeared poised to win, despite zero goals from either Gabbie Hughes or Anneke Linser, a one-time occurrence this season.
The Ms. Hockey finalists and scoring mavens kept seeing good chances denied by Lakeville South goaltender Lexi Baker, a finalist for senior goalie of the year.
Undaunted, the top-scoring duo in Class 2A co-authored a goal to seal a 2-0 victory. With Centennial on the power play, Hughes slid a pass for Linser to redirect past Baker. The goal with just over three minutes left clinched the program's first state tournament quarterfinal victory in three tries. Centennial previously reached state in 2005 and 2008.
"I heard her call for it and I saw her out of the corner of my eye," Hughes said. "I knew she would bury it, so I threw it backdoor."
Allison Pitlick gave second-seeded Centennial (24-3-1) a 1-0 first period lead. But tournament jitters and frustration brought on by Baker's excellence prevented more goals. Centennial outshot Lakeville South 18-4 in the scoreless second period.
"We were pretty determined," Baker said. "We knew it was a very close game regardless of the shots on goal."
On the other end, Centennial's Mackenna Stoterau stopped several good scoring chances by Lakeville South (19-10) and had 32 saves, 17 in the third.
"She's the backbone to our team," Centennial coach Kristi King said. "She was making saves even when she couldn't see the puck."
David La Vaque