Eden Prairie forward Ben Steeves (6), far right, scored the first goal of the game against Blake goaltender Aksel Reid in the second period. Photo: Aaron Lavinsky • firstname.lastname@example.org
The bouncing pucks in the crease were impossible to corral. Wild scrambles that almost always result in goals yielded nothing. Shots headed for upper corners or the inside of the posts never made it that far.
“Pucks were bouncing all over, guys were throwing their bodies in front of everything,” Blake coach Rob McClanahan said Friday after his No. 2-seeded Bears lost 4-1 to No. 3-seeded Eden Prairie in a Class 2A semifinal at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. “It was a spectacular game.”
A duel between goaltenders Axel Rosenlund for Eden Prairie (24-5-1) and Aksel Reid for Blake (23-7-0) — they combined to make 62 saves — finally was interrupted when senior Ben Steeves scored to put Eden Prairie ahead 1-0 with 41 seconds left in the second period.
“We knew we were going to score eventually, because that’s how we are, we’re persistent,” said Steeves, a Mr. Hockey finalist who has three goals in the tournament and 36 for the season.
Defenses loosened after Steeves’ goal. But a game many thought would resemble a back-and-forth, whoever-scores-last affair never materialized.
Eden Prairie broke open a scoreless game through two periods with four goals to defeat Blake in a Class 2A semifinal Friday at Xcel Energy Center.
Ben Steeves and Jackson Blake, two of the Eagles’ three additions this season, came through with the necessary offense. Steeves' goal broke a scoreless tie in the second period and Blake made it 2-0 with a goal in the third period.
The 4-1 victory send No. 3 seed Eden Prairie (24-5-1) back to the Class 2A championship game. The Eagles fell in overtime last season.
No. 2 seed Blake (23-7), a first-time Class 2A state tournament entrant, cut its deficit to 2-1 in a goal from Thomas Nelson.
Eden Prairie’s John Mittelstadt gave his team a 3-1 cushion with a late goal.
Drew Holt scored on an empty net with 9.3 seconds left after the Bears had pulled their goaltender for an extra skater.
Check back later for more on the game.