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South St. Paul's Jessica Pederson, left, and Brigette Miller, right, celebrate a shorthanded goal by Abby Palmquist, middle, in the third period of the Packers' 4-2 victory over Blake. Photo by Loren Nelson

Typically it's a power play that helps a team to victory. But South St. Paul is not your typical team, so it's only fitting that the game-winning goal by Abby Palmquist was shorthanded.

Palmquist's third period goal, which came 6:40 after Maddie DeSmith's tying goal, propelled the Packers to a 4-2 win over Blake on Tuesday at Wakota Arena in South St. Paul in the semifinals of the Kapsoia Classic.

“I actually thought I missed the net,” said Palmquist, the daughter of South St. Paul head coach Dave Palmquist. “But then I turned around and saw (Brigette Miller), and her face just lit up.”

It was a big goal for South St. Paul, as it had to battle back from a one-goal deficit at the start of the third period and, with the win, reached the championship of its tournament for the first time in eight years. Lucky for the Packers, they saved the best for last.

“I really felt like it was our best period,” Coach Palmquist said. “It was probably our most consistent effort. Three just solid periods.”

The Packers got on the board first just 2:18 into the game on a goal by Miller, but they quickly fell behind 2-1 as Madeline Wethington and Karlie Lund scored for Blake just 2:07 apart. The second period was scoreless, but Lilia Everson was called for checking in the last minute. The Packers tied the game with a power-play goal by DeSmith, but Anna Leadens was called for tripping four minutes later, leaving South St. Paul a skater short.

Miller and Palmquist then teamed up to give the Packers the lead for good midway through the third period.

“(Miller's) speed, she can fly," Palmquist said. "She went down to the corner, won the battle, and then I was wide open,” .

It was the pivotal play in a game that featured lots of battles and penalties. Miller added an empty-net goal with 37 seconds left.

South St. Paul goaltender Sydney Conley made 26 saves in the win, while Blake goaltender Anna Krusel had 25 in the loss.

-- Benjamin Bakker

 

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