Minnetonka’s Eric Johnson and Roseville’s Vic Brodt shared a short postgame conversation deep inside the tunnels of the Xcel Energy Center, breaking down games as head coaches do.
They quickly arrived at a consensus. Each teams’ star players cancelled out each other, leaving the Class 2A girls’ hockey state championship game in the hands of supporting casts and goaltending. No. 1 seed Minnetonka was better in both areas, beating Roseville 3-0 and capturing a second consecutive title.
A first period power-play goal from Holly Korn and third period goals from Diana Draayer and Laura Bowman provided offense that the Raiders, facing the Skippers’ strong defensive corps and goalie Sydney Rossman, could not. Rossman stopped all 23 Roseville shots, shutting out the Raiders out for the second time this season.
“I wish I knew,” said Brodt when asked what Minnetonka did to blank his team twice. “If we pop in a goal in the first period, maybe it’s a completely different ending to the story.”
Roseville, state champions in 2010, had not lost a game all season when scoring first. Heading into Saturday, the Raiders allowed just 14 goals in the past 17 games.
Their hopes of starting fast and squeezing Minnetonka got turned against them when Korn scored. The sophomore didn’t miss when Bowman got just enough of the puck off a rebound and steered it toward her.
“I thought, ‘I just have to hit this one in,’” Korn said.
No. 2 seed Roseville went on asecond period power play as Kate Flug got hauled down by Sidney Morin. It was one of Flug’s few offensive contributions as the Skippers’ defensive corps focused on her all night.
Entering the game with 48 goals this season – 12 in the past five games – Flug managed just one shot on goal.
“We tried to minimize her shots,” defenseman Sydney Baldwin said. “That was one of our big strategies. She was definitely up there as one of the most challenging assignments.”
With Roseville’s offense reeling and Rossman on top of her game, Minnetonka’s second goal proved to be the difference-maker. Draayer put Minnetonka ahead 2-0 at 11:09 of the third period. Entering the Roseville zone on a 2-on-1, she kept the puck and ripped it past goalie Erika Allen.
“It was one of those goals that was a turning point for all of us,” Baldwin said. “That gave us another push.”
Roseville defenseman Lee Stecklein said, “I don’t think any of us are disappointed in our play. I’m just a little disappointed we couldn’t come up with a win today.”
Sydney Rossman, Minnetonka
Roseville did not make life easy for the junior goalie, but she stopped everything that came her way. Allowing only one goal per game in the first two rounds, Rossman stood on her head and shut out Roseville in the state championship. To make it more impressive, Roseville had only been shut out once previously all year.