Eden Prairie didn't require a Ms. Hockey candidate or a player among the top 50 in goal scoring to achieve its championship dream.
Instead, the Eagles played disciplined, system-heavy hockey that might have cost players' recognition. Buying in was a challenge. But the investment matured in a big way.
Lauren Oberle scored on the power play in overtime as the Eagles defeated Maple Grove 3-2 to win the Class 2A state championship. Oberle's goal 5 minutes, 36 seconds into overtime came with a 5-on-3 advantage.
With the victory, Eden Prairie (22-7-2) claimed its third title in program history and the first since 2008.
"We've had years where we've felt like we've been the most talented team in the state," Eden Prairie coach Jaime Grossman said. "But that doesn't really mean anything. This group is at its best when we play as a group. When they play team hockey, I feel we are one of the best teams in the state and tonight they proved that."
Oberle said: "It's a lot to ask, for but I feel like we can do it. We are a team that will stay focused throughout a game and do what he asks us to do."
Saturday's final at the Xcel Energy Center, the first Class 2A championship game to reach overtime since 2004, tested all of the players' fortitude.
Eden Prairie built a 2-0 lead as seniors Anna Gravelle and Rachel Werdin scored second period goals.
If any team could come back, it would be Maple Grove, which overcame early drama. Coach Amber Hegland took over just weeks before the start of the season. No. 4 seed Maple Grove (22-6-2) rallied to reach its first state tournament. Along the way, the Crimson beat Eden Prairie 3-1 on Dec. 22.
Hegland said before the third period, "We challenged the girls to continue to fight. Two plays and they could be right back in this."
Goals from Katie Denecke and Maia Martinez tied the score. Maple Grove's Taylor Wente nearly won the game with 7.8 seconds remaining in regulation, but Eden Prairie sophomore goalie Alexa Dobchuk slid her left leg pad on the ice to stop the puck.
"She faked and went backdoor and that's a near-perfect move," Grossman said, "except on Alexa."
Said Dobchuk: "It doesn't matter who is coming down with the puck or how much time is left. You have to stay calm."
Dobchuk won a duel with Maple Grove goalie Breanna Blesi, who stopped all 43 shots in a semifinal upset of top-ranked Hill-Murray. Blesi kept Maple Grove in the title game despite Eden Prairie's 44-31 advantage in shots on goal.
Wente's second potential game-winner — a shorthanded chance — hit the post in overtime, not long before Oberle ended the game.
"We had to look for the right moment," Oberle said. "[Naomi] Rogge saw me wide open and that was the right moment."