Eden Prairie forward Carter Batchelder (11) scored the winning goal on Maple Grove goaltender Jack Wieneke in overtime. It was Batchelder's third goal of the game in a 6-5 victory. Photo: LEILA NAVIDI • firstname.lastname@example.org
Robbed on a great pad save in the second period, Eden Prairie forward Carter Batchelder resolved to elevate both the puck and his level of play going forward.
Two Batchelder goals in a rapid-fire, back-and-forth third period and another with 1:02 left in overtime fueled the Eagles’ 6-5 victory against Maple Grove on Friday in the last Class 2A state tournament semifinal.
No. 1 seed Eden Prairie (20-1-2) advances to face unbeaten Lakeville South at 8 p.m. Saturday at Xcel Energy Center. The pinnacle game will have a tough act to follow.
“This game had it all,” Eagles coach Lee Smith said.
Physical play. Great goaltending. Goals scored on skill and will. The teams shared a mutual respect, but also were not content to be judged by rankings. One or the other could be found atop the Let’s Play Hockey coaches poll much of the season. And each hoped for a state tournament meeting to provide their true measure of greatness.
The teams traded power-play goals through the first two periods. Then 5-on-5 production took hold for the remainder. Three goals in 21 seconds — two from No. 4 seed Maple Grove (21-2) and the other from Eden Prairie — forced overtime.
Eden Prairie’s Carter Batchelder scored with 1:02 left iin overtime to complete a hat trick and a 6-5 victory to put the Eagles into the Class 2A state championship game.
They face unbeaten Lakeville South at 8 p.m. Saturday at Xcel Energy Center. No. 1 seed Eden Prairie (20-1-2) has lost the past two championship games.
Three goals in a 21-second span of the third period tied the game 5-5 late in regulation on Friday.
Before that flurry, Maple Grove scored just 25 seconds into the third period with a goal off Chris Kernan’s skate for a 3-2 lead.
Batchelder made the task of getting the equalizer his personal mission, making an all-or-nothing streak toward the Crimson goal and putting the puck past goaltender Jack Wieneke at 4:15 on sheer will.
Great passing and a better shot then put the Eagles ahead 4-3. A give-and-go with Jackson Blake freed Batcheler for a shot he put away at 11:32.
Kernan matched the effort, blasting a pass from Sam Jacobs past goalie Zach Hayes for No. 4 seed Maple Grove (21-2) to tie the game at 4-4.
Unfazed, Eden Prairie jumped ahead once again, this time on a sharp-angle goal by Drew Holt. The puck hit Wieneke’s stick blade and bounced by him with four minutes left.