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E.P. is E.P…. Emphatically Perfect!
In a performance similar to their season long dominance, the Eden Prairie girls’ hockey team defeated Coon Rapids 6-1 in the Class AA state championship Saturday night at the Xcel Energy Center to cap off a 31-0 season. It’s the Eagles’ first title in three trips to state.
“It’s unbelievable, I can’t describe it,” said Eagles Sr. forward Meaghan Pezon. “It’s amazing. This is the best day of my life.”
“This is such a great moment, and I’m going to tell the girls to cherish this,” Eden Prairie head coach Tim Morris said. “It should be a lot of fun at the Holiday Inn tonight. Hopefully our kids don’t tear up the rooms too bad.”
It took awhile for Eden Prairie to tear into the Cardinals. It was scoreless until 12 minutes were gone in the first. The puck was batted around in front of the Coon Rapids net when it popped over to Maria Schneider who put it home to put Eden Prairie up 1-0.
That was still the score 3 minutes into the second period when Pezon electrified the fans and zapped the Cardinals. She got the puck at center ice and skated into the Coon Rapids zone. When she got to the top of the left circle, she cut left, pulled the puck between the defenders legs and stick, and then riffled a shot that beat Cardinals goalie Julie Braschayko high on the glove side.
“I did not expect to get through the defenseman,” Pezon admitted. “They have good defenseman, and when it ended up on the other side of her, I was like ‘Oh’ and then I just closed my eyes and shot it to be honest.”
Morris did not share Pezon’s shock. “She’s been having those kinds of moments all season long,” he said. “I go back to some of the shorthanded goals that she’s scored, it looks like the other team is pressuring next thing you know she is 180 feet away putting the puck in the net. She’s just so skilled that every time she touches the puck there’s the chance that something’s going to go in.”
The Eagles really started flying after Pezon’s goal. Melissa Feste made it 3-0 twelve minutes into the second when she drove hard to the net from Braschayko’s right and found the five hole. Two minutes later Andrea Green skated in all the way from the red line and beat Braschayko to make it 4-0.
Eden Prairie added two more goals in the third. Feste stuffed in her second goal of the game, and Ashlan Lambert knocked one in after a scramble in front of the net to make it 6-0. Christine Knop helped Coon Rapids avoid the shutout, but that was the only thing that didn’t go Eden Prairie’s way.
Teams that have E.P. on their schedule next year may already be sending out an S.O.S. That’s because Eden Prairie only had 3 seniors on their roster.
“We’re a very young team,” said Morris. “All of our goaltending is back, all of our defense is back, and a good share of our forwards are back. And it looks great for next year, but we are going to take some time and celebrate tonight.”