Northland Sports Online

Overtime game-winner lifts Eden Prairie

Eden Prairie forward Jackson Blake (43) skated through the Lakeview South defense in the first period.    ]


Lakeville South took on Eden Prairie in the boy's hockey Class AA state championship on Saturday, April 3, 2021 in Xcel Energy Arena in St. Paul.

NSO – Scott Toohot


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.




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