Lakeville North stayed in step on its march toward perfection, beating Eden Prairie 6-2 in Friday’s second Class 2A semifinal.
Putting the Eagles away, however, was less than a perfect process.
The No. 1 seed Panthers (30-0) struggled with puck possession and got just enough offense through two periods.
“We were more than a little concerned,” Panthers coach Trent Eigner said. “It was a disjointed effort at best.”
The confidence Lakeville North built winning every game all season never disappeared. The reward is advancing to play underdog Duluth East in the championship game at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Lakeville North aims to become the first large-class school to finish with a perfect season since Bloomington Jefferson in 1992-93.
For the second time in as many games, the Panthers rallied after tough calls by officials. A missed offside penalty Thursday led to Jack Poehling’s charge to the net and a backhand goal.
On Friday, the Panthers got fired up as a hit from behind sent a teammate into the boards. Officials called a minor holding penalty on No. 5 seed Eden Prairie (19-10).
“When something bad happens, we try to act like brothers and do it for the guy next to us,” Max Johnson said.
Johnson exacted revenge, drawing a bead on a long rebound and burying it at 5:03 of the third period for a 3-2 Lakeville North lead.
From there, the Poehling twins, leading scorers Nick and Jack, found their form after being held quiet long into Friday’s game. Their passes set the table for a goal from sophomore forward Chaz Dufon and a 4-2 lead.
Goalie Ryan Edquist protected the advantage, stopping Eden Prairie’s Michael Graham in alone then denying a rebound try.
“I saw him coming and I was just lucky to get down and stop the shots,” Edquist said.