Minnetonka junior forward Amy Petersen has mastered the clutch scorer role.
Last year she secured the Skippers' first Class 2A championship with a goal late in regulation. On Friday, Petersen put her team in contention for a repeat. She scored at the 6:21 mark of overtime as the Skippers held off Lakeville North 2-1 at the Xcel Energy Center.
Petersen took a pass from Sidney Morin at the blue line, maneuvered around a Panthers defender and put the puck over goalie Cassie Alexander's shoulder.
"She went down so I knew I had to go high," Petersen said.
No. 1 seed Minnetonka (24-5-1) advances to play No. 2 seed Roseville in Saturday's championship game. The teams have combined to win the past two big-school titles.
Lakeville North (23-6-1) threatened to disrupt a meeting of past champions as freshman Riley Tousignant scored with less than four minutes to play in regulation. She rifled a shot over goalie Sydney Rossman's glove.
The goal triggered emotions on both benches. Minnetonka coach Eric Johnson "was concerned the game wouldn't go the way we wanted it to go."
Even the Panthers were caught up in the moment.
"When we scored the first goal reality kind of hit," Panthers coach Buck Kochevar said. "We thought it would be amazing to get to the championship game. But I think we also fell back on our heels a little bit."
Not Morin. Her game-tying goal with Rossman on the bench for an extra skater and 20.9 seconds to play owed to unrelenting pressure. She saw a puck loose under Alexander's leg pads and charged.
"I went full blast and shoveled it right in there," Morin said.
The dramatic goal had a dire effect on the Panthers' psyche. Kochevar said the coaches "told players to pick up their emotions" before the overtime period. Did it work?
"No," Kochevar said. "I don't think so."