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Girls Hockey: Upsets the story for quarterfinals

Centennial 2, Lakeville South 0 ST. PAUL -- It was the perfect open to the Class 2A state tournament. The No. 2 seeded Centennial-Circle Pines Cougars (24-3-1) prevailed for a 2-0 victory over the unseeded Lakeville South Cougars (19-10) Thursday...

Centennial 2, Lakeville South 0

ST. PAUL - It was the perfect open to the Class 2A state tournament.

The No. 2 seeded Centennial-Circle Pines Cougars (24-3-1) prevailed for a 2-0 victory over the unseeded Lakeville South Cougars (19-10) Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center.

Centennial struck first, scoring in the opening period with 4:10 remaining on the clock. Sophomore Allison Pitlick picked up a Anneke Linser rebound and shoved it behind Lakeville net minder Lexi Baker to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead in the first period.

Neither team scored in the period, although both sets of Cougars had ample opportunity to do so. Centennial peppered Baker with 15 shots in the second period alone, bringing its game total to 21 by the end of 40 minutes of play. However, Baker made every single save, giving Lakeville South the opportunity to score the game tying goal in the third and final period of play.

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The Lakeville South Cougars also managed to get a few shots off on Centennial goalie Mackenna Stoterau. In the dwindling seconds of the second period, Allison McKinney deked her defender and had an open shot from the far side of the ice. Stoterau made a brilliant pad save with 0:06 remaining in the period, preserving the 1-0 lead for Centennial.

Lakeville South tried to even the score in the third period, but penalties proved costly in the final 20 minutes of play. After nearly 17 minutes of perfect play, the Cougars were called for a penalty with 3:57 remaining in the final period, giving Centennial a one-skater advantage. While Centennial had been unsuccessful in its previous power play attempts, it did not miss its shot in the third period, as Linser scored her 28th goal of the season to give Centennial a 2-0 advantage.

Stoterau faced 27 shots in regulation and made 27 saves, while Lakeville South's Baker faced 32 shots and saved 29.

Eagan 2, Hill Murray 1

Unseeded Eagan (22-5-2) pulled off the first upset of Thursday, as the upstart Wildcats defeated the No. 3 Hill-Murray Pioneer (24-4-0) 2-1 at the Xcel Energy Center.

After a scoreless first period, both Eagan and Hill-Murray worked to be the first team on the board in period two. For the Pioneers, that was easier said than done, as they spent six minutes of the period down a skater thanks to three different penalties. The Wildcats were unsuccessful in their first two power play attempts, but the third time was the charm, as Jenna Ruiz scored a power-play goal at 14:03 in the period to give Eagan a 1-0 lead.

With 23.4 seconds remaining in regulation, the Wildcats added to their lead. Taylor Anderson intercepted a pass directly in front of the Pioneer goal. When she took the shot with 23 seconds left, Ava Bailey could only watch the puck sail by her toward the back of the net.

The Pioneers wasted no time cutting the lead in half in the third period. Katie Kaufman slid the puck past Maddie Nickell, supposedly cutting the Wildcats' lead to 2-1 with 13:00 remaining in the period. Upon further review, though, Kaufman kicked the puck and the goal was called off.

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With 10:13 remaining in the period, the Pioneers legitimately cut the score to 2-1. This time, there was no doubt in the goal, as freshman defender Kennedy Morris' shot sailed past Nickell to the back of the net.

Hill-Murray continued to batter the Wildcats defense and Nickell for the remaining minutes of regulation, Nickell made 13 saves in the third period alone and the Pioneers outshot the Wildcats 27-14 in the game.

Eden Prairie 2, Andover 0

In what was the most tightly contested game of the evening, it was the No. 5 Eden Prairie Eagles who came out on top against the No. 4 Andover Huskies. The Eagles beat the Huskies 2-0 thanks to a third-period power play goal.

After one period of play, Andover and Eden Prairie skated to a 0-0 tie, with the Huskies leading the way in shots 10-7. However, the Eagles were quick to even things up in the shot category early in the second period, as an Andover skater was called for hooking just two minutes in to the second. Neither team was able to make its mark on the scoreboard as the second period ended 0-0.

Eden Prairie finally broke through the goose eggs at 15:45 in the period. Not five seconds after an Andover skater was called for roughing, the Eagles Crystalyn Hengler buried a slap shot to the back of the net, giving Eden Prairie the 1-0 lead just 1:15 into the third l period.

It turned out, that single goal was all the Eagles needed for the victory. For the remaining 15 minutes, Eden Prairie held Andover scoreless and added an insurance empty netter with 1:22 remaining in the game.

Related Topics: GIRLS HOCKEY
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