Hockey can be a game of inches. Look at the 1973 Minnesota Pee Wee State Championship game with little Gordon Bombay's penalty shot off the goal post.
In Tuesday's Section 2AA quarterfinal, a scoreless game into double overtime between Chaska/Chanhassen and Eden Prairie, Nina Langley's end-to-end rush resulted in a shot over the shoulder of Eagles goaltender Molly Goergen.
The sound of iron was present. But did it hit the inside of the net and quickly bounce out? Langley, who also scored in a similar fashion with an overtime goal in a contest over Lakeville North, was convinced it did. The Storm Hawks' coaching staff after the next whistle asked for clarification, too.
The commentator on the MNHockey.TV stream seemed to agree. After the game, a member of the Eden Prairie coaching staff relayed from their bench's angle it was in, too.
The official, though, waved off the attempt immediately, playing on.
Three minutes later, Eden Prairie captain Grace Kuipers ended the game without doubt, an unassisted goal at the 4:07 mark of double overtime to advance the Eagles to the semifinals.
It was the Princeton commit's team-leading 16th goal of the season.
A 2-on-1 opportunity after Kuipers won a puck battle in neutral ice, the veteran Eagle forward beat Chaska/Chanhassen goaltender Clara Nelson with a perfect shot past the glove.
Nelson, like Goergen with Eden Prairie, were spectacular, the two netminders making a combined 57 saves over the 63 minutes and seven seconds of play.
Eden Prairie, the No. 3 seed, will play at Holy Family Catholic at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 19, in the semifinals.
After each team owned a period early on, shot totals of 10-4 Eden Prairie and 10-3 Chaska/Chanhassen, the third frame was wide open hockey, resulting in multiple scoring chances.
The Storm Hawks had two power-plays in the third period as well as a breakaway from Jordyn Perlich. A redirect off the stick of Perlich nearly got behind the Eden Prairie goaltender, while a Elisabeth Gerebi hit the side of the facemask of Goergen, just inches from a go-ahead goal.
Defensively, Chaska/Chanhassen limited Kuipers' looks, often times getting a stick on her shot attempts. Whenever she had the puck, a defender or two were close by.
The Storm Hawks were held to 11 goals over a nine-game stretch to conclude the season, shutout though just for the second time.
Nelson, one of eight seniors for Chaska/Chanhassen, posted a save percentage of 91 with a goals against average of 2.77 for the season. Over the last four games, she made 102 saves on 108 shots
HOLY FAMILY CATHOLIC 9, NEW PRAGUE 0
Shae Messner scored twice in the opening period, completing the hat trick just 20 seconds into the middle frame in a 9-0 Holy Family Catholic win over New Prague in the Section 2AA quarterfinals on March 16 at Victoria Rec Center.
The Fire have won 10 straight games dating back to Feb. 11. It was the fifth shutout during that stretch.
Holy Family Catholic, which outshot New Prague 45-14, got goals from seven different scorers, including Grayson Limke, Kayla Woytcke and Maddy Helmstetter, who each finished with a tally and two assists.
Maddie Morgan (goal, assist), Maeve Kelly (goal), Briar Charchenko (goal), and Taylor Koeppl (three assists) were other scoring leaders for the second-seeded Fire.
Holy Family Catholic (12-4-2) hosts Eden Prairie in the Section 2AA semifinals at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 18, in Victoria. The Fire beat the Eagles 3-1 on March 5, the first program win over Eden Prairie.
MINNETONKA 2, PRIOR LAKE 0
A match-up of two of the premier senior goaltenders in the state of Minnesota, Tuesday's Section 2AA quarterfinal was not your typical No. 1 vs 8 seed match-up.
With Alex Pellicci of Prior Lake (Harvard commit) and Brynn Dulac (Cornell commit) in between the pipe, 67 of 69 total shots were saved.
Minnetonka's Alex Alvarez and Kendra Distad were able to break through as the third-ranked Skippers advanced with a 2-0 win.
Minnetonka, the two-time defending Section 2AA champions, host Bloomington Jefferson in the semifinals at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 19. The co-op with Bloomington Kennedy upset fourth-seeded Shakopee 3-2 in overtime.
Despite a 20-6 shot advantage in the first 17 minutes, Minnetonka found themselves without a tally. Pellicci, who played at Holy Family Catholic previously, lacing them up for the Fire boys team in 2019-20, rejoined her home association this season, finishing with a save percentage of 92.
Pellicci was even better in the playoffs, a 96.2 save percentage, as the Skippers beat her just twice, a second-period goal from Alvarez from Lauren Mack, and a late third-period tally from Distad from Hanna Baskin.
Dulac stopped all 17 Laker attempts for her fifth shutout of the season.