Thief River Falls peppered South St. Paul goaltender Sydney Conley with plenty of shots, yet only led 2-1 for most of the game.
Prowlers coach Whitney Restemayer, however, knew her players could handle the pressure. They scored twice in the third period and went on to a 4-1 victory over South St. Paul in Friday’s Class 1A girls’ state hockey semifinal at Xcel Energy Center.
“They didn’t let up at all,” Restemayer said. “They weren’t worried. … I could hear it on the bench.”
The Prowlers kept pressuring until all the shots paid off. Junior defenseman Briana Jorde made it 3-1 with a nice move to the net with 1:42 left.
“It gave our team lots of motivation to keep going,” she said.
Sylvia Marolt added an empty netter for top-seeded Thief River Falls, which got seven saves from Frances Marshall. Conley stopped 49 shots.
Thief River Falls (25-1-3) got on the board early when senior Emily Bergland scored her 31st of the year off a rebound 56 seconds into the game. The best chance that didn’t go for the Packers came about six minutes later when the puck was on the goal line but didn’t sneak into the net behind Marshall before she froze it.
Morgan Martell made it 2-0 late in the second before Corbyn Jenkins got the Packers (16-12-2) within one early in the third.
The Prowlers, in their first state tournament, hope to finish their debut with a championship. They meet two-time defending champion Blake on Saturday for the Class A title.
“We’re trying to make a history for ourselves,” Restemayer said.