Eden Prairie outlasts Lakeville South in 3OT

by Matt Harrington

The talk around the State of Hockey last week was the lucky draw the Eden Prairie Eagles received in the Boys Class AA Tournament, earning the number three seed and taking on the team with the tournament's worst record, the Lakeville South Cougars. But the Cougars continued to stay alive deep in to the third overtime before Jack Jensen won it with just 56 seconds left, sending the Eagles to the semifinal round against the Blaine Bengals tomorrow night. 

It didn't take long for the Eagles to jump on the scoreboard. Less than 2 minutes in, Clayton Schultz scored his first goal of the season for Eden Prairie after his shot from the point bounced off a defender in. The Eagles continued to dominate the rest of the period. With just a few minutes remaining, Drew Holt and Carter Batchelder came down the ice on a 2 on 1. Batchelder's feed was right on the tape for Holt, who buried over the glove of Welsch for the 2-0 lead. They outshot the Cougars 12-2 in the first period of play.

The Eagles' pressure was alive and ferocious to begin the second period as well. It took nearly half of the period for Lakeville South to put a shot on goal. But that shot may have been the spark they needed. With just a few minutes remaining the Cougars cut the deficit in half. In on a 2-on-1, Nico Aguilera delivered a perfect pass to Griffin Ludtke, who roofed it past Rosenlund for the goal. 

The Cougars continued to crawl their way back in to the game, and it took less than a minute in to the third period for them to even it up. Jack Novak took a wrist shot that beat Rosenlund clean for the tie goal. Both teams played at a high tempo for the rest of the third period. The game remained deadlocked at two late in the 3rd, and a late push from the Eagles wasn't enough as we headed to overtime knotted at two. 

The eight minute overtime period wasn't enough for the two teams to settle things out. The Eagles outshot Lakeville South 8-2 in the 1st OT period, but Henry Welsch continued to stand on his head and we headed to a second overtime.

In the second overtime, Eden Prairie continued to dominate the Cougars. Goaltender Henry Welsch was phenomenal again, stopping all 13 shots he faced in the period. Lakeville South had a huge offensive chance with 30 seconds remaining. A scramble in front of the net resulted in a loose puck, but goaltender Rosenlund kept it out forcing a third overtime.

Both teams took a penalty in the third overtime which resulted in 4-on-4 for 1:16. EP had the best chances, but couldn't convert on their chance. EP goalie  Axel Rosenlund made a pair of incredible saves late to keep Eden Prairie alive. 

After that whistle, Eden Prairie came down the ice with an opportunity of their own. Jack Jensen buried a feed from John Mittelstadt in the slot with 56 seconds remaining in the third overtime to give the Eagles the 3-2 win. They will face Blaine at 6pm tomorrow night in the semifinals of the Boys Class AA Tournament.

Despite the loss, Lakeville South goaltender Henry Welsch made 63 saves, one of the most ever by a tournament goaltender.

Moorhead and Edina will square off at 6pm tonight, followed by STA and Duluth East at 8pm.