Eagan became the first girls' hockey team to qualify for the state tournament with a 2-1 victory over Apple Valley Wednesday night in the Class 2A, Section 3 championship game at the Veterans Memorial Center in Inver Grove Heights.
Eagan (22-3) dominated the first two periods of play, outshooting Apple Valley (14-13-1) 29-6 and taking a 2-0 lead on goals by Alanna Stangl and Emily Johannes. University of Minnesota recruit Megan Wolfe assisted on both goals.
Apple Valley applied pressure in the third period and managed to cut the lead to one on Rachel Goodman's power-play goal at 13:42, but Eagan goalie Emma May kept the Eagles off the scoreboard for the remainder of the game.
Eagan will be making its seventh trip to the state tournament. Its best showing came in 1997, when Natalie Darwitz paced the Wildcats to a runner-up finish.
DELASALLE GIRLS PROGRESS AS PLAYOFFS NEAR
Having won 15 of their past 16 games, including back-to-back victories over Benilde-St. Margaret's and Minnehaha Academy last week, defending Class 3A champion DeLaSalle appears to be rounding into postseason shape.
"I think we've had to make way more adjustments [than last year]," said coach Faith Johnson Patterson, referring most notably the loss of senior forward Mariah Adanene because of a head injury in mid-January. "But we are still improving, which is where we want to be at this time. We will compete."
The Islanders, No. 1 in Class 3A, have a big test Friday when they play host to No. 1, 2A Providence Academy. DeLaSalle lost to Providence on Dec. 9 and trails the Lions by one game for the Tri-Metro West lead.
LOSE THE HELMET? LOSE A PLAY
High school football players who lose their helmet on a play, without it being directly attributable to a foul by an opponent, will have to leave the game for at least one down before returning, according to a rule change approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations Football Rules Committee.
Also changed was the interpretation of a legal catch. A receiver will now be required to establish possession of the ball and contact the ground inbounds while maintaining possession, regardless of the opponent's action.
• Centennial junior Jenna Roering was named the 2011-2012 Gatorade Minnesota Girls' Soccer Player of the Year. Roering had 34 goals and 12 assists for the Cougars last fall.
• The State High School Tennis Coaches Association has elected longtime Rochester Lourdes coach Kevin Rust to its Hall of Fame. Rust is best known for coaching the Eagles girls to 11 Class 1A team championships in 12 years.