Eagan forward Julia Barger (6) celebrates scoring a goal during the second period. (LEILA NAVIDI/Star Tribune)
Top-seeded Eagan trailed sixth-seeded Eastview by a goal late in the second period of their Class 2A, Section 3 girls’ hockey championship game Wednesday.
Two goals in 47 seconds by the Wildcats dramatically reduced the odds of an upset.
Julia Barger and Bella Weaver scored in the final minute of the period, as the Wildcats took a 4-3 and then held on to win by the same score at Veterans Memorial Community Center Ice Arena in Inver Grove Heights.
Lauryn Roszak and Emily Cronkhite also scored for Eagan (21-5-2), which earned its first state tournament berth since 2013.
“Just when you think we’re going to go down … to come out one goal [ahead] was truly amazing,” second-year coach Dan Wilson said of the second-period flurry.
The stretch started when Abby Barger fed her sister Julia for a goal to tie the score. Abby Barger was the catalyst for the game-winning goal moments later by stealing an Eastview pass and finding an open Weaver.
The Wildcats held off several third-period opportunities for Eastview (9-17-2), including a breakaway and a shot off the post.
Eagan lost just three seniors from last year’s 13-win squad and won 12 of its first 13 games this season. The team includes five players who were part of the Wildcats’ state championship soccer team in the fall.
“The five girls that were on that state tournament team really didn’t miss a beat,” Wilson said. “They joined us on the ice the next day.”
Eastview was looking to make its fourth straight state appearance, despite losing Division I recruit Natalie Snodgrass to graduation. The team upset third-seeded Park of Cottage Grove and second-seeded Apple Valley to reach the section final.
Kati Quaintance and Mikayla Kelley scored for Eastview against Eagan.
Class 2A, Section 6
Blake 4, Wayzata 2: Lily Delianedis’ goal with four minutes left broke a 2-2 tie and Maddie Tix’s empty-net goal with 1:11 left sealed the semifinal victory for the Bears at Parade Ice Garden.
Edina 5, Cretin-Derham Hall 0: Annie Kuehl scored two goals and C.C. Bowlby had a goal and an assist to lead the defending Class 2A state champion Hornets to a semifinal victory over the Raiders at Parade Ice Garden.
Eagan rallied to defeat Eastview 4-3 in the Class 2A, Section 3 championship at Veterans Memorial Community Center Ice Area in Inver Grove Heights.
Julia Barger, Emily Cronkhite and Lauryn Roszak scored for the top-seeded Wildcats (21-5-2), who trailed 3-2 late in the second period.
The win gives Eagan its first state-tournament appearance since 2013 and ends a run of three straight state appearances by Eastview (9-17-2).
Kati Quaintnce and Mikayla Kelley scored for the sixth-seeded Lightning, who upset third-seeded Park and second-seeded Apple Valley to reach the section finals.