The thud of Minnetonka's missed desperation shot off the boards, the horn sounding and the shrieks from the Eden Prairie faithful meant one thing: The Eagles earned a trip to the girls' hockey state tournament.
Losers in three previous games against the Skippers this season, Eden Prairie got the one that mattered most.
A 2-1 victory in the Class 2A, Section 2 championship game Friday at Ridder Arena sent the Eagles to St. Paul for next week's state tournament.
"We had confidence going into this game," Eden Prairie coach Jaime Grossman said. "Even though they beat us three times, we felt we outplayed them a good portion of all those games."
Total effort was required in the section final. Grossman credited players for clogging the middle, blocking shots and limiting top seed Minnetonka's open looks at the net. Sophomore goaltender Alexa Dobchuk appreciated her teammates' assistance.
"My team played honestly the best game in front of me that I've ever seen," Dobchuk said.
Whatever shots Eagles' skaters didn't block, Dobchuk turned away or snatched out of the air.
Even as Minnetonka's catalyst Presley Norby, a Ms. Hockey finalist, squirted free in the high slot and fired with about a minute to play, Dobchuk remained calm and made the glove save.
"You just kind of react in the moment," Dobchuk said. "But then afterward it's like, 'That was kind of nice.' "
Lauren Oberle got the No. 2 seed Eagles (19-7-2) going with a first-period goal. Teammate Naomi Rogge built a 2-0 lead four minutes into the third period.
Norby answered with a power-play goal at 7:30, creating an all-too-familiar scenario. Eden Prairie's last loss to Minnetonka started with a two-goal lead and ended with a Norby hat trick.
Not this time.
"We learned from that and knew we had to stay positive," Rogge said. "That's what we did and it worked."
Norby's power-play goal marked the only time Minnetonka (21-4-2) converted on three man-advantages in the third period.
"We're for sure disappointed," Skippers' coach Eric Johnson said. "We wanted to get some better looks."
David La Vaque
Class 2A, Section 6: Edina 6, Wayzata 0: Forget bragging rights. The third meeting between Lake Conference opponents Edina and Wayzata came with a trip to the state tournament on the line.
Edina prevailed in the section championship game.
The Hornets went ahead in the second period on goals from junior forward Olivia Kilberg and senior forward Molly Myhre.
Kilberg scored on the rebound just 38 seconds into the period. Myhre found the back of the net at 13:41.
Edina dominated the third period, starting with quick goals from Sophie Slattery and Anna Klein. Kilberg later added her second goal of the game, and CC Bowlby scored as well.
Junior goaltender Anna Goldstein stopped 23 shots to earn the shutout.
Edina (19-7-1) held the section's top seed. Wayzata (16-10-1) was the third seed.
David La Vaque
Class 2A, Section 5: Maple Grove 4, Centennial 1: A three-goal second period, including two by junior Taylor Wente, who had a hat trick, lifted the Crimson (19-5-2) to its first state tournament in program history.
"These girls, from the beginning, had the dream of getting [to state] and doing it together," Maple Grove coach Amber Hegland said. "It's been amazing, the things that they have done collectively to get to this point, and they should be so proud of themselves."
Centennial (15-8-2) took a 1-0 lead in the first period at Roseville Ice Arena on a goal by freshman Maija Almich.
In the second period, Wente scored two goals in less than 90 seconds. Her first goal came at 3:36 on a power play. Then with Maple Grove killing a penalty, she scored again at 4:48.
"The feeling is just unreal," said Wente, who has committed to play with Minnesota.
"I just felt like the whole game changed, and we all just had a boost and kept pounding."
The third Crimson goal of the period came on another power play when senior Lauren Kaufman found the net with under a minute left.
Centennial senior goalie Anne Juergens made 33 saves, but was overpowered by an unrelenting Crimson attack.
Wente's empty-net goal with under a minute to play completed her hat trick.