Eden Prairie's Jack Jensen kept apologizing for being in a state of shock after his team's tough section championship game victory on Wednesday at 3M Arena at Mariucci.
The ninth-ranked Eagles overcame upset-minded Holy Family Catholic 3-1 for the Class 2A, Section 2 title. Jensen scored the game's first goal and made a huge play to prevent the Fire from forcing overtime in the final seconds.
Eden Prairie led 2-1 and faced six Holy Family attackers for the final minute of the game. A scrum developed around the Eagles' goal and Jensen watched the puck inch ever closer to a tie score.
"It went under our goalie's skate blade, and it was on the goal line," Jensen said. "I hit it out, otherwise it was going in."
Eden Prairie (17-9-2) survived as sophomore Carter Batchelder scored his fifth goal of the playoffs — this one into an empty net about 185 feet away with 14.8 seconds remaining.
Holy Family (16-10-1) had reached its third consecutive section final by upsetting top-seed and defending state champion Minnetonka in overtime in the semifinals.
Goalie Bailey Huber sparked the Fire early with an incredible glove save to thwart an Eden Prairie 2-on-1.
But Jensen and Drew Holt each scored later in the period. Sawyer Schugel answered for Holy Family.
"We needed to play a tight, low-scoring game for us to win," Fire coach Noel Rahn said. "To get it to 2-1 going into the third was a good spot for us."
Edina 5, Benilde-St. Margaret's 1: Just after the Hornets' third-period power play expired, senior forward Jett Jungles became a one-man advantage.
His rush past Benilde-St. Margaret's skaters ended with the clinching goal in the Class 2A, Section 6 title game at 3M Arena at Mariucci. No. 1-ranked Edina (24-2-1) returns to the state tournament next week.
"Everything kind of opened up," said Jungels, a Mr. Hockey Award finalist. "And when I saw the goalie's five-hole open, I just tossed it in there. I don't know what happened next. I kind of blanked out because I was so surprised."
His goal gave Edina a 3-1 lead. Teammate Grant Morton scored again only 45 seconds later to leave no doubt.
Trailing 2-0 early in the third period, No. 10 Benilde-St. Margaret's (20-8) fought back on Jonah Mortenson's goal. Then the Red Knights went on a power play. But Edina's penalty killers didn't budge.
"When we've run into the very top teams, their special teams have been better than our special teams," Benilde-St. Margaret's coach Ken Pauly said. "We had the power play and we generated nothing."
The Red Knights, playing in their first section final game in five years, struggled on the attack all game. They managed only seven shots through two periods.
"I thought the first good shot we had would go in because their goalie had probably been lulled to sleep," Pauly said.