Eagles Cruise by Cougars 4-0

by Matt Harrington

St. Paul, MN-- After a heartbreaking loss in last season’s Class AA Championship, Eden Prairie took the first step in the pursuit of another state title. The Eagles cruised past the Lakeville South Cougars 4-0 in the Class A Quarterfinals Wednesday afternoon.

The Eagles jumped the gun early in this one, scoring just 3:48 in. It was senior Kai Stansberry on the goal, which also happened to be his first of the season. 

Late in the first period, it was Luke Mittelstadt that gave the Eagles a big insurance goal. Jackson Blake and Ben Steeves gathered the assists, and the Eagles had a comfortable lead after the first frame. 

It was the Ben Steeves show in the 2nd period. The senior from New Hampshire, in his first season with Eden Prairie, scored a pair of goals to push the Eagle lead to 4-0 by the end of the second period. 

“It’s crazy,” Steeves said about the tournament atmosphere. “The fans, the bands, it was all super fun to get to play in fun front of the whole state.”

Lakeville South appeared to tally their first goal of the game early in the third. However, after the referees reviewed it, they determined that the puck did not fully cross the goal line on Cade Ahrenholz’s shot, keeping the game at 4-0. The Cougars had little offensive pressure for the remainder of the hockey game, allowing EP goaltender Axel Roselund to capture his third shutout of the season. 

“The kids seem really prepared. I’m so proud of them. They were ready to go from the drop off the puck,” Eden Prairie head coach Lee Smith said. 

The Eagles are on to the Class AA Semifinals for the second consecutive season.They’ll have a date with the Blake Bears, who beat them 5-4 in the regular season.