Eden Prairie players jumped into the plexiglass in front of their fan section after winning the Class 2A state championship. Photo: ALEX KORMANN • firstname.lastname@example.org
Jackson Blake fired home a rebound and Eden Prairie prevailed 2-1 against Lakeville South in the second overtime Saturday in the Class 2A state championship game.
Blake’s goal, set up by a Drew Holt shot, came at 2 minutes, 6 seconds of the extra period. It gave No. 1 seed Eden Prairie its first state title since 2011 after finishing second the past two seasons.
This game at Xcel Energy Center marked the first championship game appearance for No. 3 seed Lakeville South (20-1-2).
Blake, a junior who has verbally committed to North Dakota, scored his 20th goal of the season. His shot beat senior goaltender Cody Ticen, who kept Lakeville South in the game despite the Cougars being outshot 35-26.
“We talked about that before the overtimes, that it would probably be a rebound or deflection,’’ Eden Prairie coach Lee Smith said. “Because South played great defense all night and wore us down.”
Blake joined the Eagles (21-1-1) two weeks into the season after spending the fall playing for the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League.
“Jackson broke his ankle but played through it,'' Smith said. "He’s a special player.”
Both starting goalies shined in the second period. The Eagles’ Zach Hayes made a sprawling save along the goal line, keeping the puck out with his right skate. At the other end, Ticen snuffed out Holt’s shot and a quick rebound try.
1. Jackson Blake, Eden Prairie, junior forward: Scored the game-winning goal in the second overtime period. Also assisted on Carter Batchelder’s first goal. Made his presence felt virtually every time he touched the puck.
2. Carter Batchelder, Eden Prairie, senior forward: Tallied the game’s first goal one night after capping his hat trick with the overtime winner against Maple Grove. Gutted out the game despite getting injured early and late in the third period.
3. Cody Ticen, Lakeville South, senior goalie: Kept the Cougars in the game despite being outshot 35-26. Emerged from a season-long timeshare with the talented Ethan Dahlmeir to start throughout the state tournament.
“I’m proud of our kids who sacrificed to stay in high school hockey, not knowing if there would even be a state tournament.” -- Lee Smith, Eden Prairie coach
DAVID LA VAQUE
Eden Prairie forward Jackson Blake (43) skated through the Lakeview South defense in the first period. Blake scored the game-winning goal in overtime. Photo: ALEX KORMANN • email@example.com
Eden Prairie's Jackson Blake scored in the second overtime to give the Eagles a 2-1 victory over Lakeville South and the Class 2A championship.
(This story will be updated Saturday evening.)
Saturday’s game at the Xcel Energy marked the first championship game appearance for No. 3 seed Lakeville South (20-0-2). The school opened in 2005.
Eden Prairie (20-1-2) lost the past two title games.
No Class 2A program has ever finished second for three consecutive seasons. The Eagles were trying to win their first state championship since 2011. That title game went to three overtimes before Kyle Rau’s head-first sliding effort produce the game-winner.
Both goalies shined in the second period. Eagles’ goaltender Zach Hayes made a sprawling save along the goal line, keeping the puck out with his right skate. At the other end, Cougars’ senior Cody Ticen snuffed out a Drew Holt shot and quick rebound try.
Ticen emerged from a season-long goaltending timeshare with the talented Ethan Dahlmeir to wear the saddle for Lakeville South throughout the state tournament.
The Cougars’ offense gave Ticen support in the second period. Tanner Ludtke carried the puck deep into the Eden Prairie zone and slid it across the slot for Cam Boche, a Mr. Hockey Award finalist, to bury at 13:04.
Carter Batchelder, who capped his hat trick Friday night with the game-winning goal in overtime, resumed his role as Eden Prairie’s trophy goal scorer. His goal, fired underneath the far post for a 1-0 lead at 5:56 of the first period, owed to a nice feed from linemate Jackson Blake.
Relentless forechecking and smart passing allowed Eden Prairie to maintain puck possession in Lakeville South’s zone for an extended period of time in the opening period.
But when a Lakeville South finally gathered the puck, his pass down the ice found a streaking Aidan Willis. While Willis drew a slashing penalty on Eagles’ defender Luke Mittelstadt, he still got the puck on net. Hayes never lost concentration and his save prevented the Cougars from snatching momentum.
Lakeville South, the last undefeated team in Class 2A, went to the top of the Let’s Play Hockey coaches rankings after beating then No. 1 Maple Grove on the Crimson’s home ice.
But that game provided the Cougars’ lone signature victory. Forced to schedule almost entirely within the South Suburban Conference, Lakeville South’s weaker strength of schedule factored into the Cougars receiving just the No. 3 seed. Electronic votes by the state tournament qualifying coaches decide the field.
Eden Prairie downed Lakeville South in the state tournament quarterfinals the past two seasons. In 2019, the teams engaged in a three-overtime classic won 3-2 by the Eagles.
Check back later for more on the game.