Forest Lake's Lexi Carpenter (right) and Eden Prairie's Josie Olson chased a loose puck in the teams' quarterfinal game Thursday at Xcel Energy Center. Eden Prairie advanced to the semifinals with a 6-0 victory. JIM GEHRZ * email@example.com
Eden Prairie’s two girls’ hockey state championships were won long before current players reached the program.
The Eagles’ inexperience concerned coach Jaime Grossman heading into Thursday’s Class 2A state tournament quarterfinal game against Forest Lake at the Xcel Energy Center.
But two early goals set in motion a 6-0 shutout. Josie Olson and Angie Heppelmann scored in the first three minutes and 35 seconds. No. 2 seed Eden Prairie outshot Forest Lake 11-1 in the opening period.
“These kids impressed me because they came out the first few minutes and they were dominant,” Grossman said. “We got a couple goals that helped us relax but maybe relax too much.”
Forest Lake, outshot 35-8 for the game, battled throughout the second period. But goals from Anna Johnson and Charly Dahlquist built a 4-0 Eden Prairie lead. Olson and Heppelmann each added a goal in the third period. Heppelmann, a sophomore, finished with two goals and two assists.
The youthful Eagles, with only three seniors in the starting lineup, kept their poise in all facets of the game.
“Their quickness in transition was so good,” Forest Lake coach Ryan Sauter said. “We couldn’t handle the puck coming into their zone.”
Senior goaltender McKenzie Johnson stopped all eight shots faced and credited teammates for a relatively quiet afternoon between the pipes.
“This was definitely one of our best defensive games,” Johnson said. “We got a lot of help from the forwards and I didn’t see much action.”
DAVID LA VAQUE