Eden Prairie's Ben Steeves (6) looks for a passing lane against Minnetonka Saturday afternoon. Steeves had two goals and an assist in the Eagles 6-1 victory over the Skippers at Braemar Arena. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
With Eden Prairie in desperate need of a goal, senior forward Ben Steeves took aim and fired. Never mind that he was deep inside the Zamboni room. Or was that circus shot unloaded from behind the concession stand?
For the sake of probability, Steeves might as well have been located somewhere in downtown Waconia when he whipped his second-period wrister in off the crossbar to give the Eagles (21-5-1) a jolt of much needed energy on their way to a 6-1 triumph over Minnetonka (13-13-1) in a Class 2A, Section 2 semifinal on Saturday afternoon at Braemar Arena in Edina.
In truth, Steeves, one of the 10 Mr. Hockey award finalists announced on Friday, was standing on the goal line — deep in the corner — when he tied the score at 1 with the first of his two goals.
“If there’s a kid that can do it, it’s gonna be him and it’s not because of luck,” Eden Prairie coach Lee Smith said about Steeves’ seemingly improbably goal. “It’s because of a lot of practice both in his driveway and on the rink. He always says he makes up for his size with work ethic.”
Eden Prairie's Axel Rosenlund (30) makes a glove save late in the third period against Minnetonka. Rosenlund had 24 saves in the Eagles’ 6-1 victory over the Skippers. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
Senior forward Ben Steeves, one of 10 Mr. Hockey award finalists, scored twice to lead a four-goal Eden Prairie outburst in the second period as No. 2-seeded Eden Prairie rallied past No. 3 Minnetonka 6-1 on Saturday afternoon in a Class 2A, Section 2 semifinal at Braemar Arena in Edina.
Steeves’ first goal came when he unloaded a shot from deep in the corner, just in front of the goal line. The puck banged in off the crossbar to tie the score at 1-1 just 1:32 into the second period.
Steeves scored again four minutes later to put the Eagles (21-5-1), ranked No. 3 in the state Class 2A coaches’ poll, ahead 2-1, and goals by junior Carter Batchelder and senior John Mittelstadt 31 seconds apart in the final minute of the period made it 4-1. Batchelder’s goal came on a power play.
Junior forward Riku Brown added a power-play goal for Eden Prairie with 4:03 left in the third and Eagles junior defenseman Will Britton shot into an empty net with 2.3 seconds left to complete the scoring.
Senior forward Teddy Lagerback drilled a shot from the high slot in off the crossbar to give the Skippers (13-13-1) a 1-0 lead with 7:26 left in the first period. Minnetonka also was effective in killing a Lagerback hooking penalty, limiting Eden Prairie’s chances and zone time. It was the only penalty called in the first, when Minnetonka outshot Eden Prairie 12-11.
Eden Prairie goaltender Axel Rosenlud made 24 saves. Minnetonka’s Brandon Shantz stopped 27 shots.
Minnetonka's Teddy Lagerback (34) battles two Eden Prairie defenders as he crosses into the offensive zone Saturday. Lagerback had the lone goal for the Skippers in their 6-1 loss to the Eagles at Braemar Arena. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
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