Allison McKinney broke a 3-3 tie against Eagan early in the third period Saturday for Lakeville South.
The Cougars' defense did the rest, securing a 4-3 win over the Wildcats.
Lakeville South controlled the puck for much of the final period, quieting an Eagan offense that had largely controlled the first two periods. The effort helped the Cougars (9-3, 8-0) increase their South Suburban Conference lead over second-place Eagan (6-3-1, 6-1-1) to three points.
"I think we're very well trained," senior forward Halle Gill said of the defensive clampdown. "There's not a lot of girls trying to take it end to end with a minute left, (which) you'll see with some other teams."
Gill scored Lakeville South's first goal 2:07 into the game on a two-on-one breakaway, assisted by linemate Emily Fischler. Eagan controlled the period after that, however, with Taylor Anderson and Megan Plaschko scoring goals to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead.
Eagan held off a Lakeville South five-on-three opportunity early in the second period and continued to take initiative offensively. Plaschko had an open shot in front of the net that went high, and another Eagan shot ringed off the inner post.
Lakeville South fought back to tie the game with a Maddy Fox goal before taking a 3-2 lead on a power-play goal by Fischler. The Wildcats would finally capitalize on their offensive prowess about two-and-a-half minutes later with Plaschko tying the game at three.
Lakeville South coach Mark Johnson said the girls ability to move their feet constantly was key for his team. He said he wasn't too worried about his team starting slow, noting that his players get stronger further along in the game.
"They tend to compete every night," he said. "That's the biggest thing for our group."
Allison McKinney scored the game winner 2:42 into the third period, flicking a wrist shot into the upper right corner of the net. She said the team stayed positive despite trailing after the first period and that the mentality changed after the first period.
Lakeville South had the day off from practice Friday because of the weather, and Halle Gill said it was tough to get going right away after not practicing. She said the team had been preparing for this game for weeks, and noted goalie Lexi Baker's strong saves at the end of the game.
"She works her butt off over the summer," Gill said of Baker, a first-year starter. "You could just tell with her sitting there (last year), she was ready to go in."
The victory was Lakeville South's third straight and stretched the team's unbeaten streak against Eagan to seven.
Plaschko led Eagan with two goals and an assist, and Anderson added an assist. The Wildcats outshot Lakeville South 34-18.
"Most of the time when that happens, you end up on top of the scoreboard," Eagan coach Dan Wilson said.
Lakeville South's Allison McKinney scored early in the third period to break a 3-3 tie, as the Cougars defeated Eagan 4-3.
Halle Gill, Maddy Fox and Emily Fischler also scored for Lakeville South (9-3, 8-0), which entered the game just one point ahead of Eagan (6-3-1, 6-1-1) in the South Suburban Conference standings.
Megan Plaschko scored twice for the Wildcats, who controlled the puck for much of the first half of the game. Taylor Anderson also scored for Eagan.
With tonight's victory, Lakeville South extends an unbeaten run against the Wildcats that stretches back to January 2013.
Eagan's Megan Plaschko fires in her first of two goals from close range. Photo by Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine