A diving, rebound goal from Kyle Rau gave Eden Prairie a 3-2 victory at 4:43 of the third overtime period of Saturday’s Class 2A state championship game at the Xcel Energy Center.
Saturday marked the first time in 67 years of the state tournament that a championship game went to three overtime periods.
The last big-school or one-class championship game to be decided in overtime was in 1989 when Bloomington Jefferson beat Rochester John Marshall.
In addition, the Greyhounds and Eagles needed overtime to decide their regular season meeting, a 4-3 Greyhounds victory.
Saturday’s state championship is Eden Prairie’s second in three seasons. The bulk of the Eagles’ seniors on the ice Saturday played key roles in winning the 2009 title.
Standout Eden Prairie forward Kyle Rau scored twice in the third period of the first Duluth East game. On Saturday, he was held off the score sheet until the final moment.
He dived to get a stick on the rebound of his twin brother Curt’s shot from the point. The puck got behind goaltender JoJo Jeanetta and Rau won the race to the puck, getting his stick on it and knocking it over the goal line.
Eden Prairie’s other set of twin brothers, David and Mark Rath, forced overtime with third period goals.
Eden Prairie’s David Rath tied the game 2-2 at 14:04 of the third period.
Defenseman Nick Seeler shot a puck from the point that Duluth East Jeanetta couldn’t control.
Rath reached around Jeanetta and stuffed the rebound home to give his Eagles a lift. Eden Prairie outshot Duluth East 10-4 in the third period.
Duluth East’s Trevor Olson scored his second goal of the game to give the Greyhounds a 2-1 lead at 9:31 of the third period.
Rau attempted to disrupt the shot, but instead sent the puck fluttering toward Eagles goaltender Andrew Ford. A deflection off Ford’s blocker sent the puck up and over him and into the net.
Duluth East grabbed a 1-0 lead at 3:31 of the second period on a power-play goal from Trevor Olson.
Precision puck movement around the perimeter created a lane for Jake Randolph. He sent the puck from one faceoff dot to the other where Olson waited to drive it home.
Grabbing an early lead was a much-needed boost for the Greyhounds, who came into Saturday’s final after playing a combined three overtime periods in victories against White Bear Lake and Edina.
The Greyhounds might have cashed in on their second power-play opportunity in the second period, but Eagles defenseman Nick Seeler made two plays to keep the puck out of the net.
Eden Prairie, which outscored its previous state tournament opponenets by a combined score of 10-1, could not muster a goal until the third period.
Luc Gerdes took the puck off the boards, stick-handled around a Duluth East defenseman backhanded the puck into Jeanetta’s leg pad. Mark Rath got to the rebound and ripped the puck high into the net to the game 1-1 at 1:43 of the third period.
Eden Prairie reached the state tournament thanks to a double-overtime victory against Wayzata in the Section 6 championship game.-- David La Vaque, Star Tribune