st. paul united 2, alexandria 0 | 

Two referee calls decided winner

Alexandria goalie Amy Jost thought she had made the save, with the puck resting on her pads. The referees thought otherwise and allowed St. Paul United junior Joie Phelps to knock the puck into the net, giving her team a 1-0 lead late in the first period.

Two periods later, St. Paul United goalie Catherine Johnson thought she had covered up a loose puck. This time the referees agreed, blowing the whistle — despite video evidence that the puck came free — just before Alexandria tucked it into the net. No goal.

Those two plays, combined with exceptional goaltending, nicely summed up the win for No. 3-seeded St. Paul United (22-5-1).

"That happens in the game of hockey," said coach Blair Hovel of Alexandria (18-8-1). "The goal [Jost] gave up was laying on her pads. If the refs were quick on blowing the whistle there, we're still playing."

Jost had no problems with the goal. "She was there quick enough and she saw it," she said. "It was a good garbage goal."

On the other side, Johnson was certain the puck she stopped in the third period was controlled.

"I had it in the beginning, then the whistle blew. The girl kept coming and then it came out," Johnson said. "I guess luck was on my side there."

Both goalies played exceptionally. Jost stopped 30 of 31 shots she faced (Samantha Burke scored an empty-netter with 32 seconds left). Johnson made 23 saves, stopping numerous odd-man rushes.

"This was a one-goal game with 50 shots," St. Paul United coach Nate Mauer said. "That's pretty impressive goaltending on both sides."

JIM PAULSEN