Three periods of play; and still a stalemate. But a Cretin-Derham Hall penalty in overtime gave Eden Prairie the advantage they needed. Melissa Feste found a way around Raiders’ standout goalie Lea Jondal for the game-winner as the Eagles won the Class 2A semifinal 1-0 Friday night at the Xcel Energy Center.
“We had literally just said to them when we started the overtime, forehand to forehand, tape to tape and that’s exactly what happened,” Eden Prairie coach Tim Morris said of the final play. “We’ve been preaching it all year long. When we’ve had some power plays this year where we’ve made passes that make our offensive players take a little bit more time and let’s the defenders get back in place and they didn’t let that happen this time.”
Kelly Wild’s tripping penalty occurred at 5:09 of the overtime period. The play was set up by Kelsey Ketcher who threaded a pass to Hannah Riggs. She spotted Feste breaking to the left post and laid the pass right on her stick, setting the coaches mind at ease.
“Overtime is always tough,” admitted Morris. “But when you’re in a state semifinal it raises the blood pressure a few more points.”
Up until that point, the Eagles had a heck of a time trying to solve Jondal. Morris said, “Their goaltender has had a great run here to get them through the section playoffs and to the state semifinals. Hats off to her, she did just an unbelievable job.”
Jondal made 26 saves on the night. Her counterpart, Eden Prairie’s Maddie Burke held her own, as well, turning away all 20 Raider shots. Morris sounded father-like when he described the overall effort of his team.
“I’m extremely proud of my team and what they’ve done,” said an emotional Morris. “We’re talking about a group of kids, I think these seniors are 108-5-1 or something like that over the last four years. It’s truly a remarkable accomplishment for these kids to keep up that level of play. Our expectations by us as coaches and by them as players, the fans and other teams, sometimes it’s hard to live up to those expectations. I think everybody is a little afraid to fail. No matter what happens tomorrow night, these kids are winners.”
They proved they could do it in 2006. We’ll see if they can do it again.