Neither as crisp in play or as dominating on defense as a Section 2 semifinal win over top-seeded Minnetonka, through three quarters in the championship June 5, Chanhassen trailed on the scoreboard by just one goal.

A position the Storm hoped to be in. A chance at the program's first section title.

When you have a defense like Eden Prairie, heavily dominated by big, strong seniors such as All-American Quentin Matsui, having a lead into the final 12 minutes almost always means a win.

The Eagles held Chanhassen to two second-half shots on goal, one in the fourth quarter, in a 9-5 section championship win over the Storm at Aerie Stadium.

The eighth section title in nine years for Eden Prairie, last champions in 2013 and 2014.

"We were right there for three solid quarters. The heat, us coming off a tough game with Minnetonka, their tough defense, it all kind of came together there in the last 12 minutes," Chanhassen head coach Jon Junker said.

Chanhassen, the fourth seed in the bracket, just one game above .500 into the playoffs with one of the toughest schedules in the state, was sloppy with the ball in the first half, yet trailed only 4-3.

Goals from Tyr Christianson, Blake White and Jason Collins over the first 24 minutes had the momentum in Chanhassen's favor at the break.

What made the Storm successful at Minnetonka, ball control, patient in the offense, rang true against Eden Prairie. A Cal Davis behind-the-back shot in transition from Vincent Manuel had the Storm within 5-4 after three quarters.

A shot difference of 26-8 in favor of Eden Prairie, it was Riah Rathe again starring for the Storm. His 17 saves, unofficially, kept Chanhassen in the game, drawing praise from Eagle coach Ryan Ward.

"Fantastic goalie. Unfortunately (Riah) didn't get some of the recognition he deserved this year. Ryan's telling me, 'Wow, this kid is fantastic.' I've been trying to tell everyone how good he is all season. He got the limelight to show what he can do, and we're excited to have Riah back next year to lead us," Junker said.

Eden Prairie pulled away in the fourth quarter behind a natural hat trick from Henry Benson. Collin Penn finished off a hat trick late in the game with Will Aldrin netting a pair of tallies in the first half.

Eighth grader Carter Van Holland netted the final goal with 28.9 seconds left for Chanhassen.

While the finish was disappointing for Storm players, with 16 varsity regulars back next year, on paper, Chanhassen should be right there in the end once again for a third straight season.

"The hope is these guys are more comfortable playing at this level, against this kind of competition. Going into these intimidating stadiums, playing these tough teams, the hope is this experience will help them next year. We'll continue to have other young kids come in, share in all of this fun going forward," Junker said.

The state tournament begins with quarterfinals on Tuesday, June 11 at Chanhassen High School. Semifinals and finals are June 13 and 15 at Minnetonka High School.


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