Sena Hanson's second goal, with 18 seconds left in the third period, lifted Irondale to a 2-1 upset victory over Mounds View in the Class 2A, Section 5 final on Friday night at Roseville Arena.
Near the right faceoff circle, Hanson found the puck on her stick and scored in the top left corner with a 4-on-3 advantage after both teams exchanged penalties late. Sam Donovan had the assist.
Goaltender Anna Pate, who was home sick from school three of five days this week battling the flu, stopped 31 shots for Irondale. Tom Rodefeld, her coach, called this game best of her career.
"She came today to school and we're trying to think if this is borderline dangerous for her," Rodefeld said. "She's a competitor. ... Boy, did she show up tonight."
The Mustangs, who won the Suburban East Conference with a 15-1-2 record and were highly ranked in the state poll most of the season, dominated play for much of the first period. They used their size, speed and skill to sustain consistent pressure in the offensive zone. Their defensemen were able to keep the puck up ice and out of trouble areas.
Kathryn Larson finally broke through Pate. Conventional shooting wasn't working, so Larson powered her 6-foot frame behind the net and forced it through the goalie on a wraparound to give Mounds View a 1-0 lead with 4:27 left in the second period.
But Hanson, who also scored the game-winner against Centennial in the section semifinals on Tuesday, jump started the Knights with a couple scoring chances in the second period. When Irondale had a scoring chance, Hanson was there. She got the Knights on the board very early in the third period with a shot from the slot and then pounced on the rebound to push it past Mounds View goalie Mary Dingman.
Irondale came in with a game plan, but Mounds View failed to let them follow through with it. It didn't matter. The Knights battled through it.
"Thank goodness for the determination of the girls, because it was all them," Rodefeld said. "Our systems weren't working because of how hard Mounds View was working -- and our girls found a way."