An unexpectedly tight game through two periods revved up underdog Alexandria and tested defending Class 1A state champion Blake's resolve.

The Cardinals trailed by a goal at second intermission and hoped to maintain their good vibes.

Top-ranked Blake, seasoned by one of the state's toughest schedules, responded with a pair of third-period goals in a 3-0 victory.

"We've been in tight games throughout the season," sophomore defensemen Madeline Wethington said. "We needed to be calm and patient, and we never get down on ourselves."

Not that Blake (25-2-1) played poorly. Credit Alexandria for keeping pace and nearly taking the game's first lead. A Cardinals power play at 12:52 of the second period led to some achingly close calls but no goals.

"That would have changed the whole game," Alexandria coach Molly Arola said. "We had them on their heels for a while."

Blake got a lift from Wethington's goal with 1:07 remaining in the period.

"The whole team took a breath of fresh air," Wethington said. "It helped our team go into the locker room, regroup, settle down and go out hard for the third period."

Teammates Sara McClanahan and Lucy Burton netted third-period goals, and goaltender Sarah Finley kept Alexandria (14-13-1) in it despite the Bears' 43-20 advantage in shots on goal.

"We controlled the third period," Blake coach Shawn Reid said, "but the first two periods could have gone either way."

David La Vaque