Maple Grove Girls Hockey Falls in Title Game to Eden Prairie
Gallery: Class AA Championship: Eden Prairie 3 Maple Grove 2 OT [27 Images] Click any image to expand.
Playing on the big stage for the first time didn’t phase the Crimson, neither did facing the Eden Prairie Eagles in the Class AA championship game. After trailing by a pair of goals in the second period, Maple Grove rallied by scoring twice in the final period to force overtime. In the extra session, the Eagles capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play to capture their third championship 3-2 in overtime.
“These kids believed in something bigger than themselves,” said Crimson Head Coach Amber Hegland. “At the end of the day, they gave themselves the opportunity to exactly what they came here to do.”
After playing a scoreless first period, the Eagles finally found the back of the net when Anna Gravelle scored. As the second period clock churned toward zero, Eden Prairie capitalized on the power play when Rachel Werdin scored giving the Eagles a 2-0 lead.
“We challenged the girls to continue to fight,” said Hegland about her message to her team before the third period. “Two plays, two opportunities and they could be right back in this.”
Her team responded, getting on the board on the power play as Katie Denecke scored just 5:13 into the final period. Ninty seconds later, Maia Martinez tied the game at two. With the Crimson fans in all out chaos, Maple Grove continued to press for the go ahead goal. Junior Taylor Wente just about gave Maple Grove the win in regulation. With seven seconds left, Wente took the puck and headed toward the Eden Prairie net. She put a move on goalie Alexa Dobchuk and patiently waited. Dobchuk was able to make the play to send the game into overtime.
“What I admired was Wente’s patience,” said Eden Prairie Head Coach Jamie Grossman. “She was so patient. She faked and waited and went for that back door. It’s a near perfect move except on a kid like Alexa.”
In overtime, the Crimson continued to put the pressure on the Eagles. Tina Kampa drew a hooking penalty at 4:06 of the overtime period giving the Eagles a power play. It was Wente who again nearly ended the game. Skating shorthanded, Wente put a shot on net that hit the post. The Eagles corralled the rebound and headed up ice drawing a second penalty, giving them a 5-on-3 advantage. Less than a minute later, Lauren Oberle scored on the power play to win the game for Eden Prairie.
Junior goaltender Breanna Blesi playing a night after making 43 saves against Hill-Murray, made 41 saves for the Crimson who finished the season 22-6-2 made their first state tournament appearance in program history and then defeated the No. 1 team in the state to punch their ticket to the title game.
Congratulations to five seniors who played their final games for Maple Grove.
Forward – Claire McLean
Defenseman- Riley Norman
Forward – Hailey Herdine
Forward – Lauren Kaufman
Defenseman- Tippy Hill
All Tournament Team:
The Crimson were well represented in the All-Tournament Team. Taylor Wente, Brenna Blesi and Tina Kampa were all named to the team.