Eden Prairie senior Carter Batchelder (11) celebrates after scoring a first-period goal. Photo by Loren Nelson, SportsEngine
A small, seemingly random cheer came out of the Eden Prairie fan section midway through the second period of Tuesday’s game against Benilde-St. Margaret’s.
The fans, limited to 150 or so at the Eden Prairie Community Center because of COVID-19 protocols, alertly noticed that junior forward Jackson Blake had returned to the Eagles bench. Blake, who had been averaging a stunning four points per game, went down hard into the boards at the end of the first period and appeared to barely be able to stand as he required assistance to hobble off the ice. At that point, his return seemed doubtful at best.
“He comes back on the bench, and the crowd got us going with the claps,” Eden Prairie senior Carter Batchelder said after scoring twice in the Eagles’ 4-1 triumph over the previously unbeaten Red Knights. “We were happy. And that first shift was huge, we got a ton of momentum back.”
Eden Prairie's Jackson Blake stretches for a rebound just before crashing into the end boards late in the first period of Tuesday's game against Benilde-St. Margaret's. Photo by Loren Nelson, SportsEngine
Senior forward Carter Batchelder scored twice and and senior goaltender Zach Hayes stopped 24 of 25 shots on Tuesday as Eden Prairie, ranked No. 3 in the Class 2A coaches' poll, knocked No. 2-2A Benilde-St. Margaret’s from the shrinking list of state unbeatens, defeating the Red Knights 4-1 at the Eden Prairie Community Center.
Batchelder notched his first goal with 5:17 left in the first period to put Eden Prairie (9-1-0) ahead 2-0. He scored the lone goal of the second period as the Eagles surged ahead of the 3-0 entering the third. The goals were Batchelder’s team-leading 15th and 16th of the season, placing him among the state’s goal-scoring leaders.
Adam Marshall scored a power-play goal with 1:37 remaining for the Red Knights (10-1-0) as they pulled to within 3-1. Eden Prairie’s Riku Brown answered with a goal just 19 seconds later.
Luke Mittelstadt opened the scoring for Eden Prairie in the first period.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s Carson Limesand stopped 31 shots, including 23 in the first two periods.
Eden Prairie suffered a scare late in the first period when standout junior forward Jackson Blake went down along the boards and didn’t get up for several minutes. He received treatment between the first and second period, and his return to the ice midway through the second coincided with Batchelder’s second goal.
From left, Eden Prairie's Jackson Blake, Luke Mittelstadt, Mason Langenbrunner and Drew Holt celebrate a first-period goal by Mittelstadt. Photo by Loren Nelson, SportsEngine
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