Big Second Period Powers Eagles past Bengals

by Matt Harrington

After outlasting unseeded Lakeville South in 3OT last yesterday, the Eden Prairie Eagles had a quick turnaround for their game against the Blaine Bengals. After falling down 2-0, the Eagles battled their way back to a 4-2 victory to advance to the AA Championship. 

The Bengals first "shot" of the game was a strange one, and it somehow found the back of the net. Cole Hansen went behind the net and took a shallow angle shot, and it bounced off the goalie's stick and then off defender Clayton Schultz in front and past the goaltender Rosenlund for the goal. The Bengals added another goal before the conclusion of the first period. The Eagles' defense allowed Hansen to get open on the left side of the wing, and he caught a perfect pass from Bryce Brodzinski and then proceeded to bury it. Despite trailing in shots 14-4, the Bengals lead the game 2-0 after one period of play. 

In the second period, the Eagles completely turned the tide. 6:08 into the period and on the power play, Keegan Langefels buried a snapshot past the glove side of goaltender Joe Daninger. The Eagles added another just 26 seconds later. Garrett Smith dove for a loose puck in front of the net and it bounced off his stick and glided past Daninger. Just like that, the Eagles had evened the game.

At about the halfway mark of the period, Luke Mittelstadt gave the Eagles their very first lead of the night after a redirect in front of the goal. The officials had a length look at the play because of a possible high stick, but they determined there was none and gave Eden Prairie the goal. Eden Prairie's explosive second period wasn't over yet though. On yet another power play, Carson Jones scooped a loose puck in front of the goal and behind Daninger to give the Eagles a 4-2 lead. By the time the period was over, Eden Prairie had scored three out of its four goals on the power play. 

The Eagles played another strong period in the third as well. They continued to apply high pressure opportunities on Daninger all night long. 

The Bengals didn't go quiet though. With under three minutes to play and trailing by two, Carsen Richels cut the deficit in half. He came in on the left side and pulled off a nice hesitation deke to beat the defender and finished it with a terrific shot. The Bengals were heavily pressured by the Eagles for the remaining few minutes of the game. Goaltender Joe Daninger wasn't able to come to the bench until less than 30 seconds remaining, and by then it was too late. The Eagles held on to advance to the AA Championship tomorrow night against the winner of Edina vs Saint Thomas Academy.