Their teams even after two periods, players inside the Eden Prairie and Forest Lake locker rooms were of vastly different mentalities.
Veteran Forest Lake players worried that their six talented eighth- and ninth-graders had begun cracking under Eden Prairie's pressure. But they struggled to convey their message in a way that wouldn't make the youngsters feel singled out.
Conversely, the No. 3-seeded Eagles kept it simple: Get back to the basics. Get a goal. Play well in the defensive zone.
A more poised Eden Prairie team scored two goals just 1 minute, 14 seconds apart for a 4-2 victory.
"We thought our experience would be an advantage," Eagles coach Jaime Grossman said.
Freshman Becca Kniss helped the Eden Prairie veterans. Her fifth goal this season, scored at 6:48 of the third period, was the game-winner. Senior Rachel Werdin added a quick second goal to put Eden Prairie (20-7-2) in control.
"After that goal I think our momentum went up a lot," Kniss said.
Forest Lake didn't quit. Trailing 2-0 in the Section 7 final, the Rangers scored twice in 52 seconds to tie and later won in overtime. But the manner in which Eden Prairie scored — both goals came after turnovers by Forest Lake (18-8-3) in the defensive zone — sapped the Rangers' emotions.
"We get on each other quite a bit in the locker room, but we always somehow seem to find it," Forest Lake junior Madi Nolan said. "But it didn't work out too well tonight."
David LA Vaque