Minnetonka girls' hockey coach Eric Johnson joked that he implored his team "about 20 times" to not lose its lead to dogged Maple Grove.
Drama existed throughout the Skippers' 7-4 quarterfinal victory on Thursday. Ahead 4-2 after two periods, No. 5 seed Minnetonka (15-13-1) traded goals with the Crimson throughout the third.
Maple Grove nearly cut its deficit to one but Skippers defenseman Hanna Baskin swept away a puck that dribbled past her goalie.
In the offensive zone, Minnetonka found ways to beat stellar Maple Grove goaltender Lucy Morgan whether by tip or by rip.
Morgan entered the game with impressive stats: a 1.46 goals-against average, a .940 save percentage and shutouts seven shutouts. She had allowed three or more goals only twice all season and made 36 saves in a 3-2 overtime victory at Minnetonka on Nov. 29.
The Skippers knew they had to be creative in the rematch. Olivia Meredith and Emily Bayless put just enough English on teammates' shots to beat Morgan.
"We knew she was a pretty strong goalie and in practice all the time we work on tipping and screening," said Lacey Martin, who scored twice. "We knew we had to get in her head a little bit to get pucks past her."
No. 4 seed Maple Grove (19-8-1) couldn't generate enough offense to keep pace.
"We continued to fight to see if we could come back," Crimson coach Amber Hegland said. "I expected nothing less."
DAVID La VAQUE