The night cap of what can be considered the most special night in the State of Hockey featured the Eden Prairie Eagles, ranked #1 in the MyFoxHockey.com polls and the #6 ranked Minnetonka Skippers. Both teams met earlier in the season at the Eden Prairie Community Center and the Eagles prevailed 4-2. Considerable time has passed since then, and the Skippers were playing some of the State’s best hockey in recent weeks.
The Eagles are one of the hottest team’s in High School hockey as they had not lost since a 2-1 ot heart breaker to the Edina Hornets on January 10th. Eden Prairie is on a 15 game winning streak and worked four different scorers in shutting down the Skippers.
Unlike the first game, the ebbs and flows of the nightcap were evident as the Eagles scored first on Taylor Wolfe’s 19th of the season as his club had the early jump. He took a Kyle Rau pass in the slot and fired a shot 18 inches off the ice and beat Skippers goalie Jim Kruger for the 1-0 lead. The Skippers emulate their calm coach Brian Urick, and did not panic. Instead, they seized control of the period after being scored on and finished out the period trailing 1-0 but led the game in puck possession time, scoring chances, and offensive zone time.
Their hard work paid off as the Skippers tied the score at one on Derek Frawley’s goal as he danced down the goal line and forced a shot through the legs of goalie Andrew Ford to tie the game at :24 of the second period. Much like the Eagles goal energized the Skippers, Eden Prairie found a way to fight back and slowly generated scoring chances and eventually capitalized on Mike Erickson’s goal at 2:32.
The Erickson goal, proved to be more debilitating than what it appeared as it not only energized the Eagles who were clearly on the ropes, but it also deflated the Skippers who prior to that were on a roll. Minnetonka now found themselves bobbing and weaving off the ropes. Eden Prairie took it to the intermission and in the third period, it was a pair of goals by Mitch Rogge and Jack McCarten that opened the 4-1 lead. Rogge scored his going to the net as the Eagles were effective in creating second chances on their opportunities.
Sam Coatta scored a goal with 2:26 breathing temporary life into the Skippers. They could not maintain that however, as the Eagles shut the door and picked up the 4-2 win and the Section 6AA final. The Eagle are making their 4th trip to State and their first since 2003. They are in search of their first State Title and have the personnel to do just that.
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