It was set up to be a battle — and it was. But in the end, depth and hard work were enough for Minnetonka to prevail on Saturday night.
The Skippers, ranked No. 4 in the Class 2A coaches’ poll, overcame some obstacles and defeated Lake Conference rival Eden Prairie 4-3 to claim the Mid-Winter Meltdown championship hardware in Eden Prairie.
Not only did the Skippers trail twice, but two of their top defenders were absent, as they’re off playing for the United States in the U18 Women’s World Championships in Slovakia.
The game was tied 3-3 when Anna Sorenson went off for tripping, giving No. 5-2A Eden Prairie a power play with 1 minute, 51 seconds left in regulation. That’s when Minnetonka’s Lacey Martin worked hard on the forecheck and won the puck, which she slid over to Kyle Melz, who scored her second goal of the game — this time the game-winner — with 44 seconds left.
“We’ve been in lots of different positions this year, and we talk about that,” said Skippers coach Tracy Cassano. “It’s all about learning and the process. Just move forward and win the next shift.”
Two goals from Kylie Melz helped Minnetonka win the 11th annual Mid-Winter Meltdown championship with a 4-3 triumph over rival Eden Prairie on Saturday night in Eden Prairie.
Melz scored shorthanded with 44 seconds left in the third period to put the Skippers, ranked No. 4 in the Class 2A coaches’ poll, ahead. Eden Prairie had gone ahead 3-2 on a Sydney Langseth goal, but Josie Helling tied it on the Skippers’ seventh power play of the game, which set up Melz’s game-winning tally.
After a scoreless first period, the No. 5-2A Eagles went up 2-0 in the second on a breakaway shorthanded goal from Langseth and a deflection from Grace Kuipers. Minnetonka tied it with a pair of power-play goals from Lacey Martin and Melz to make it 2-2 heading into the third period.
The Skippers (13-2-0, 4-1-0) have now beaten the Eagles (9-5-1, 1-3-0) twice in the last two weeks, having won 4-0 in a Lake Conference matchup on Dec. 17. This time out, Minnetonka did it without top defenders Rory Guilday and Maggie Nicholson, who are playing with Team USA at the U18 Women’s World Championships in Slovakia.
Eagles goaltender Molly Goergen had 28 saves, while the Skippers’ Brynn Dulac made 36 saves.
The MN Girls' Hockey Hub poll is for entertainment purposes only.