As the extra minutes dragged on in Saturday’s Class 1A girls’ hockey championship game, so did the frustration on Breck’s bench.
Mustang players had wide-open shots, shots from the blue line and shots off odd-man rushes. No dice. South St. Paul freshman goaltender Sydney Conley looked like a grizzled veteran on darn near everything.
Yet Breck players stuck to coach Chris Peterson’s game plan: Crash the Packers’ net hard and throw everything at it.
“We were trying the kitchen sink, too,” Peterson said.
Well into the second overtime, it paid off.
Forwards Leah Schwartzman and Prentice Basten joined defenseman Milica McMillen on another odd-man rush toward Conley. Despite a sliding last-ditch effort by South St. Paul’s Sam LaShomb to break up the play, Schwartzman took a pass from Basten and popped it over a sprawling Conley at the 10 minute, 55 second mark of the first double overtime in championship game history to give top-seed Breck a 3-2 victory.
“I really wasn’t thinking,” Schwartzman said. “I was just crashing the net like coach always says. I didn’t really see anything because they all jumped on me before I could see it in the goal.
“We had nothing left but we were fighting for it. It all came down to that one moment, and we got it.”
That Schwartzman notched the game-winner should come as no surprise. She’s got a knack for this sort of thing.
Schwartzman, who got Breck on the board 4:40 into the third period Saturday, scored game-tying goals late two days apart against South St. Paul and Benilde-St. Margaret’s early in the season.
“The cardiac kid,” Peterson said.
Heart-stopping moments happened on both ends of the rink before the game was decided.
Breck had a goal waved off with five minutes left in the third period that would have made it a 3-1 game. After LaShomb scored a clean goal 1:02 later to tie it 2-2, teammates Lauren Wilcox and Brigette Miller failed to connect on a 2-on-1 opportunity in overtime.
“We worked too hard to get let down like this,” LaShomb said. “If you asked somebody to give more, they couldn’t because everybody is just dead. They did everything they could.”
Instead, the second-seeded Packers were forced to settle for silver medals for a second straight year. Breck gets to hoist a first championship banner after reaching tate in five of the last six years.
“It finally happened,” McMillen said. “It was overtime. It was adrenaline. It could have gone out, could have gone in. And it went in.”