Long. Surreal. Bizarre.
Those were words Minnetonka’s girls’ hockey coaches and players used to sum up their 4-3 Class 2A state semifinal victory against Lakeville lasting six overtimes and a record 113 minutes and 29 seconds. The game ended at 1:04 a.m. Saturday.
The Skippers will go for a third consecutive big-school state title against No. 3 seed Hill-Murray at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Amy Petersen was credited with the game winning goal at 4:29 of the sixth overtime after Laura Bowman’s shot deflected of her and past Lakeville North goaltender Cassie Alexander.
“It hit me right in the chest,” Petersen said.
The placement was fitting as both teams led with their hearts.
Players throughout each lineup were tired, bruised and battered. Both coaches shortened their benches in the third period and rolled two lines with occasional individual substitute for the remainder.
“We lift each other up as teammates and whenever anyone is tired we say, ‘All right, we got this. Come on, let’s go,’” Minnetonka goaltender Sydney Rossman said.
Late in the fifth overtime, the game became the longest in girls’ hockey state tournament history, eclipsing the 2003 consolation game between Elk River and Anoka that lasted five overtimes and 108 minutes, 29 seconds.
Minnetonka broke the record with 61 shots on goal in a tournament game. Alexander set a record with 57 saves in the game.
Tied 3-3 after two periods, the game felt reminiscent of last year’s semifinal matchup, which Minnetonka won in overtime.
Hannah Behounek tallied a power-play goal just 44 seconds into the second period, extending the Skippers’ lead to 3-1.
Lakeville North fought back to tie the game 3-3 on two goals from Christi Vetter. She beat goaltender Sydney Rossman on the first goal as the puck hit Rossman’s blocker and bounced up and over her into the goal.
On the second goal, Vetter redirected a shot from Alexis Joyce to score the power-play equalizer with less than one minute to go in the second period.
“I was proud of how the girls came back,” Lakeville North coach Buck Kochevar said. “They were actually really loose during the overtimes. We had nothing to lose. “These girls left everything on the ice. Hats off to them. I was hoping we'd get a bounce and make history."
Minnetonka grabbed an early lead Friday night as Diana Draayer scored just 29 seconds into the game. Teammate Sidney Morin bumped the lead to 2-0 with a goal at 12:44.
Lakeville North received a much-needed boost as Taylor Flaherty scored a power-play goal with one minute and three seconds to go in the first period.
DAVID LA VAQUE
Hill-Murray 2, Eden Prairie 1
Every moment late in a one-goal game is magnified, which explains the Hill-Murray crowd's roar as a puck carrying Eden Prairie's last hopes left the Pioneers' zone.
No. 3 seed Hill-Murray edged No. 2 seed Eden Prairie 2-1 in Friday's first Class 2A girls' state hockey tournament semifinal at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The Pioneers will play the winner of the second semifinal between No. 1 seed Minnetonka and No. 4 seed Lakeville North. The game ended after this edition went to press.
Hill-Murray goaltender Alexys Woodward, who made several saves late in the game, said of seeing the puck pushed to open ice in the final seconds: "It was a big relief. I could finally breathe after that."
Sarah Bobrowski gave Hill-Murray a 2-1 lead, blasting a shot from point-blank range at 2:37 of the third period. The Pioneers held their edge from there. "I was really proud of how we fought down the stretch," Hill-Murray coach Bill Schafhauser said. "The grit level was really high."
Charly Dahlquist put Eden Prairie ahead 1-0 at 6:27 of the first period, breezing into the Hill-Murray zone and sending a puck over Woodward. Kenzie Prater tied the game 1-1 with a power-play goal at 7:38 of the second period. "The timing of that was huge," Schafhauser said. "We go down two and our youth begins to show."
With a combined five seniors on the teams' rosters, the game would go to whichever talented group of youngsters could seize the moment. "They took us off our game," Eden Prairie coach Jaime Grossman said. "They were physical with us and took away our speed."
DAVID LA VAQUE