Have fun, Cherie Nelvin told her daughter Aubrey before Wednesday's Class 2A, Section 3 championship game, and believe in yourself.
Oh, and one more thing, get me a birthday win.
Aubrey Nelvin, a senior forward on the Burnsville girls' hockey team, did Mom one better. She scored a shorthanded, game-winning goal in the third period in a 3-1 victory over Eagan.
"This is good for Mother's Day even," Cherie joked.
Burnsville and Eagan skated to a pair of ties in South Suburban Conference play this season.
But in their third meeting, an unassisted, shorthanded goal from junior Allison Urlaub gave the Blaze a 1-0 first-period lead. A power-play goal by senior Jenna Ruiz of Eagan (14-12-2) evened the count after two periods.
Late in the third period, the teams appeared headed toward an extra period of hockey or more.
Then Nelvin, on the penalty kill, poked a puck off the boards and past an Eagan defenseman before dashing around her to set up a breakaway.
She'd been here before. Twice, actually, in the second meeting of the season with Eagan. And both times, she failed to score.
This time, she ignited the Blaze half of the crowd with less than three minutes left at Veterans Memorial Civic Center in Inver Grove Heights.
"When I was going in, I was hoping my teammate would get a rebound," Nelvin said. "But then I saw it in the back of the net and I was overwhelmed with joy."
Nelvin's emotions ran higher as Urlaub scored an empty-net goal with 26.9 seconds to play. It assured Burnsville (19-7-2) of its first state tournament appearance since 2014 and erased five consecutive years of quarterfinal disappointments.
"That goal was even better because we knew we sealed the deal," Nelvin said.
After the game, Nelvin broke from her pack of jubilant teammates, borrowed the public address announcer's microphone and yelled, "Happy birthday, Cherie Nelvin."
David La Vaque
Section 6 semifinals
Edina 6, Benilde-St. Margaret's 1: Vivian Jungels scored four goals to lead the Hornets (25-1) past the Red Knights at Parade Ice Garden. Jungels scored three times in the first period as the defending state champions built a 4-0 lead.
Wayzata 4, Blake 2: Mallory Coffin scored two goals to lead the Trojans past the Bears. Her second goal at 2:17 of the second period broke a 2-2 tie.