Duluth East rallied from a three-goal deficit to force overtime and defeat St. Thomas Academy 6-5 in Thursday’s second Class 2A quarterfinal at Xcel Energy Center.
Ryan Peterson tipped in the game-winner.
Senior forward Peter Tufto scored twice and assisted on the Cadets’ three other goals as No. 3 seed St. Thomas Academy jumped to 5-2 lead in the second period.
But Duluth East, which fought back from a 3-0 deficit against Elk River/Zimmerman to win the Section 7 championship, showed similar moxie against the Cadets. Trailing 3-0 in the first period, the Greyhounds rallied for a pair of goals.
Behind 5-2 after two period, Duluth East stirred its group of red-clad fans with a trio of third-period goals to force overtime.
The Greyhounds advance to play No. 2 Edina in Friday’s semifinal.
Edina 6, Bemidji 4
A stirring last-minute rally by upset-minded Bemidji fell just short as No. 2-seeded Edina held off the unseeded Lumberjacks 6-4 on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Class 2A state tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
A goal by Bemidji’s Jack Johnson with 2:07 left in the third period was followed by another from teammate Josh Lusby with 54 seconds left as the Lumberjacks (23-4-2) pulled to within 5-4. Edina’s Casey Dornbach capped the scoring with an empty-net goal with 2 seconds remaining.
Two-time defending state champion Edina (25-1-2) advances to the semifinals where it will play the winner of Duluth East and St. Thomas Academy in a 6 p.m. start on Friday.
Senior Matt Masterman of Edina scored twice and junior Garrett Wait had a goal and an assist to propel the Hornets to a big early advantage.
Masterman opened the scoring 2:18 into the opening period with a deflection past Bemidji goaltender Grant Tharaldson. Two more quick goals, by senior Parker Mishmash and Wait, gave the No. 2-state ranked Hornets a 3-0 lead 6:28 into the first.
Bemidji, making its first state tournament appearance since 1986, got the crowd roaring with back-to-back goals by Rocky Copiskey and Jake Leitner just 43 seconds into the second. The Lumberjacks' goals came just 27 seconds apart.
Edina regained control with goals by sophomore Bram Scheerer and Masterman to take a 5-2 lead in the third. Masterman has 25 goals in 27games this season.
Edina goaltender Kobe Boe finished with 13 saves. Bemidji’s Tharaldson had 29.
Edina defeated Bemidji 6-0 in the 1974 state title game to complete a 24-0 season.
Lakeville North 4, Hill-Murray 1
Backhand shots aren’t Jack Poehling’s specialty.
The high-revving Lakeville North senior scores on slap shots, snap shots, dekes and most any other method used to deposit the puck in the net, but he says he doesn’t practice the backhander often, if at all.
Not that he needs to.
Poehling scored twice on precisely placed rising backhand shots late in the second period of Lakeville North’s 4-1 victory over Hill-Murray in Thursday’s Class 2A quarterfinals.
“That’s the first couple of backhand goals I’ve had all year, I think,” said Poehling, a Mr. Hockey finalist and St. Cloud State commit who leads the Panthers with 36 goals. “Right coach?”
Lakeville North coach Trent Eigner just shook his head with a grin.
“Fine with me,” he said.
Poehling’s goals came 2 minutes, 55 seconds apart, the second with 58 seconds left in the middle period, and boosted unbeaten Lakeville North’s lead to 3-1. The No. 1-seeded and No. 1-ranked Panthers got another backhand goal in the third period, this one from sophomore Henry Enebak, to clinch the team’s 29th win in as many games.
The score was tied at 1 when what replays showed as a blown offsides call had Poehling fuming. He took out his aggression on the ensuing faceoff, controlling the puck and weaving through the defense of Hill-Murray (21-8) before whipping his backhander high into the net.
“That was a bad call, but officials make those calls,” Poehling said. “That definitely fired me up."
Eden Prairie 5, Blaine 3
Eden Prairie sophomore Casey Mittelstadt made the state tournament an annual destination as a youngster, even sacrificing a few days of school along the way.
Battling nerves in warmups, Mittelstadt settled down and resumed his role as the Eagles’ premier offensive weapon.
He scored the game’s first goal and added another in the Eagles’ 5-3 victory against Blaine.
“It’s a big stage so I think it was nice to get one early and settle into the game,” said Mittelstadt, who has committed to the Gophers.
Mittelstadt, who has 26 goals this season, and junior Michael Graham, who has 25, each scored twice for fifth-seeded Eden Prairie, which plays undefeated Lakeville North in Friday’s semifinals.
“The only chance you have of winning a state tournament is if your top guys are playing big,” said Eden Prairie coach Lee Smith, who led the Eagles to championships in 2009 and 2011. “Ours did tonight.”
Mittelstadt batted a puck home for a 1-0 lead. No. 4 seed Blaine (22-6-1) answered as Riley Tufte scored on a breakaway with 57 seconds to play in the opening period.
The Eagles (19-9) built a 4-1 lead in the second period on two goals from Graham, bound for Minnesota-Duluth, and a second from Mittelstadt.
“We tried to bring the momentum back, but that didn’t come until the third period,” Tufte said.
The Bengals cut their deficit to 5-3 on third-period goals from Easton Brodzinski and Ryan McArthur.