Eden Prairie forward Carter Batchelder (22) took the puck down the ice in the first period. Photo: ANTHONY SOUFFLE • email@example.com
The power-play goals were great. The penalty killing? Even better.
Superstar forward Jack Jensen was held off the score sheet, but special teams propelled Eden Prairie to a 4-3 triumph over Blaine on Friday night in the Class 2A hockey semifinals at Xcel Energy Center.
Three of the Eagles’ four second-period goals came on power plays, but a couple of key penalty kills in the middle period against one of the most potent forward units in the state were also crucial in allowing Eden Prairie to rally from a 2-0 deficit that period.
Facing Mr. Hockey finalist Bryce Brodzinski and his high-scoring sidekick Carsen Richels, Eden Prairie appeared on the verge of going down 3-0 when, with Blaine (23-3-2) on a power play, it drew a cross-checking call on Bengals forward Will Hillman. Defenseman Keegan Langefels scored on the ensuing Eagles power play, the first of four unanswered goals i n the second period.
“We just worked it down low first, and then we just popped it back out and shot it to the net,” Langefels said. “They were screens, and it just went in.”
Another successful Eden Prairie penalty kill in the second period, with the Eagles (19-9-2) leading 3-2, also proved critical.
Eden Prairie scored four unanswered goals in the second period -- three of them on the power play -- as it rallied to upend Blaine 4-3 on Friday in the Class 2A semifinals.
No. 2 seed Blaine (23-3-2) led 2-0 to start the second period after getting goals from junior Cole Hansen — his third and fourth of the tournament.
Senior defenseman Keegan Langefels started the comeback for the Eagles (19-9-2) with a power-play goal 6:08 into the second period. Senior forward Garrett Smith scored just 25 seconds later as he was sliding face first on the ice toward the goal. The goal was just the fifth of the season for Smith, a third-line wing and Eagles’ coach Lee Smith’s son.
Eden Prairie took the lead with 6:24 left in the second on Luke Mittelstadt’s deflection of a shot by his brother, John. Carson Jones made it 4-2 for Eden Prairie with 34 seconds left in the second. The goal was Jones’ second of the season.
Blaine’s Carsen Richels scored with 2:39 left to pull the Bengals to within 4-3.
Blaine goaltender Joe Daninger made 34 saves. Eden Prairie goaltender Axel Rosenlund had 20 saves.
Check back later for more on the game.