Minnetonka girls' hockey coach Eric Johnson thought he was complimenting Edina coach Sami Reber when he lauded the Hornets' defensive game plan.
Turns out the smothering performance was a product of necessity on a night when Edina's offense wasn't clicking.
"The team took it upon themselves to say, 'Hey, let's crush the D-zone and hopefully squeak a few [goals] by,' " Reber said.
Whatever works. Top-ranked Edina completed a three-game season sweep of its Lake Conference rival with a 2-1 victory in the second Class 2A semifinal Friday at Xcel Energy Center.
No. 1 seed Edina (26-4) advances to Saturday's title game to face Brainerd/Little Falls. The Hornets are seeking to become just the second team to win three straight state titles.
Defender Vivian Jungels, a ninth-grader verbally committed to the Gophers, scored the game's first goal in the first period. As the game wore on, it looked like it might be the only one.
Minnetonka sophomore goalie Brynn Dulac settled in and kept her team within a goal despite zero shots on goal by the Skippers in the second period.
"They did a great job defensively," Johnson said of Edina. "They made it tough for us to break out of our zone. They took away our time and space, but our girls never quit."
In the third period, junior forward Josie Helling scored her first goal of the season for No. 5 seed Minnetonka (15-14-1), flipping a puck high into the Edina net with less than five minutes left.
Senior forward Annie Kuehl's goal broke the 1-1 tie with 38.4 seconds left. "We work in practice on just getting pucks to net," Kuehl said. "It was a fun goal."