If you only blinked during part of the third period of the Fridays Class 2A semifinal between Maple Grove and Eden Prairie, you would probably be missing out on something great.
Within a period of 97 seconds at the end of the third period, four goals were scored.
First, Eden Prairie scored to take a 4-3. Just over a minute later, Maple Grove recorded.
Twelve seconds later, Eden Prairie regained the lead. Nine seconds later, Maple Grove tied it back up.
Fighting for the opportunity to play Lakeville South in the state championship on Saturday, the teams exchanged goals faster than the in-game announcer could describe the previous goal.
They would have been gone all night if they could. Fortunately, the overtime rules don’t allow it.
With 62 seconds of overtime left, Carter assured Batchelder that there would be no more runs, as a pass from Drew Holt set up the senior with a wide open net. Batchelder took Eden Prairie to the state championship with a 6-5 victory.
But it wasn’t just the third period. Neither team held the lead for more than four minutes and it started from the very beginning.
After a roughening penalty on Eden Prairie (20-1-2), Maple Groves Sam Jacobs grabbed the opening goal of the game 11 minutes in the first period.
Less than a minute later, Maple Grove (21-2) was awarded a penalty. Fourteen seconds later, Eden Prairies Jackson Blake scored from the right to balance the match 1-1.
The teams exchanged dangerous attack opportunities for the remainder of the period, but neither was able to take advantage of the opportunities.
In the second period it was the Eden Prairies turn to draw the first blood. Success again in the field of power play.
The Eagles Mason Langenbrunner was able to sneak a puck past Maple Grove goalkeeper Jack Wieneke’s sprawling right block five minutes into the period.
But again there was a reaction. Maple Grove was in power within a minute. Six seconds after the call-up, the Crimson made a draw on Jacobs’ second goal of the evening.
Maple Grove took the lead 25 seconds into the period when Jacobs made a pass through several defenders and a lucky bounce on teammate Chris Kernan’s skate to slip through goalkeeper Cooper Czech’s legs.
Just as the Crimson began to get comfortable with the belt, he was gone. Eden Prairies Batchelder stormed off the ice, took a hard cut in the right face-off circle and threw a backhand through Wieneke’s legs to balance the game 3-3.
That’s when the real madness ensued. While each team traded goals, everyone felt like the nail in the box for the other side.
First it was Batchelder who gave them the lead. Then Kernan scored his second to tie it up. Holt would set up the Eagles 12 seconds later and Ian Barbour completed the series, scoring for Maple Grove to tie the game back to 5.
With the win, Eden Prairie returns to the championship for the third year in a row. The Eagles lost the game to Hill-Murray last year and lost to Edina in 2019.
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