Three goals allowed on seven shots, a pair of two-goal advantages for Chaska were no more after one period with Holy Family Catholic in the Section 2AA quarterfinals Feb. 20.
Nine dressed seniors walked into the locker room after 17 minutes, the mood was urgent.
"This year we're really focusing on defense, which creates really good offense. That was the difference the last two periods tonight. We did what we needed to do, played good in our D zone, translated it into the O zone. We were clicking there," Chaska captain Nick Olmscheid said.
Allowing just eight shots over the final two periods, Chaska pulled away from neighbor Holy Family Catholic -- the two schools separated by five miles -- scoring three more times in a 6-3 win inside a jam-packed Chaska Community Center.
"We took control with our forecheck. Didn't let them get the puck out of their zone. When the puck was in our zone, we did a good job limiting scoring chances. Our wingers were getting back, they were having a hard time getting anything on net," Chaska captain William Magnuson said.
Freshman Jimmy Snuggerud netted a hat trick, while Olmscheid and linemate Shane LaVelle combined for three goals and four assists for Chaska.
LaVelle and Olmscheid, paired together with fellow senior Owen Thomas the back-half of the season, clicked all night.
A 5-on-3 opportunity in the first period, LaVelle slid a pass to Olmscheid, who buried a backhand shot past Holy Family Catholic goaltender Dylan Halliwill for the 3-1 lead.
Olmscheid's second goal was one of great pretty. The eventual game winner for the Hawks.
LaVelle stole the puck at center ice, carrying possession into the zone on a 3-on-1. The defender went to LaVelle. The goaltender kept an eye on Thomas up the middle. Olmscheid went to the far corner, LaVelle finding him for the go-ahead goal at 4-3.
Olmscheid sought out LaVelle after the goal, the trio soaking in the moment with an extended celebration.
"That was all him. It was nicely executed. Senior season, we're all having fun out there. Really fun moment," Olmscheid said. "We got our old connection back. It felt really good tonight."
Chaska held Holy Family Catholic without a shot for the first 10 minutes of the third period, LaVelle clinching the playoff win with his fourth point, a goal with 5:50 remaining.
Snuggerud, Chaska leader with 18 goals, finished off the scoring with an empty-net tally late in regulation.
A wild first period produced six goals on 18 shots. Snuggerud buried a one-timer from Sully Scholle just 72 seconds into the contest before a snipe from the right circle on a drop pass from LaVelle increased the lead to 2-0.
Holy Family Catholic got one back -- or did they -- as Nick Strand's blast clanked iron, bouncing away from the net. An immediate goal call from the referee, despite the protest from the Chaska staff, stood, a 2-1 score.
Following the Olmscheid power-play goal, the Fire got even with a pair of goals 69 seconds apart from Strand, his second of the game, and a Nick Blood wrister that squeezed between the pads of Chaska freshman goaltender Carter Wishart.
"No one wanted it to end here tonight. We knew we needed to put the pressure on them. It was about getting back to play strong defense," Magnuson, a senior defenseman, said.
Halliwill, making his post-season debut, made 29 saves for the Fire (12-14), which graduate just two seniors in Lucas Jorgenson and Jaden Anderson.
It was the first time in five seasons in Section 2AA Holy Family Catholic failed to reach the semifinal round. The Fire were section runners-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Chaska (15-9-2), on a 10-1-1 roll dating back to Jan. 9, will face top-seeded Prior Lake in the semifinals at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22 at Braemar Arena in Edina.
The Hawks rallied from a 4-1 deficit on the Lakers' home ice on Dec. 26, winning 5-4 in overtime. It was Olmscheid at 23 seconds of extra time that scored the winner.
Magnuson tied the game with 70 ticks on the clock in regulation.
"We're pretty similar teams. It was a close one back in December. It's going down to capitalizing on scoring chances, limiting what they can do in our zone," Magnuson said.
MINNETONKA 3, CHANHASSEN 0
A shot difference of 53-14, third-seeded Minnetonka was in control from the opening puck drop, moving on to the Section 2AA semifinals with a 3-0 shutout of Chanhassen on Feb. 20 at Pagel Activity Center.
The Storm are 0-10 all-time in Class AA post-season hockey, having been shutout in three consecutive seasons.
Chanhassen has never scored more than one goal in a playoff game, outscored 54-6 over the last decade.
It was the second all-time post-season meeting between Minnetonka and Chanhassen. The Skippers won 5-1 in 2016-17.
This time around, first-period goals from Graham Harris and Griffin Streeter were all Minnetonka needed. Teddy Lagerback added a second-period unassisted score for the Skippers.
Josh Weyandt made 50 saves in his final start spanning four seasons on the Chanhassen varsity squad. He stopped 20 shots in the first period, 16 in the second period, and all 14 in the third frame.
Chanhassen finished the 2019-20 season with a 7-19 record. The Storm graduate 11 skaters and two goaltenders.
Minnetonka (13-12-1), Section 2AA champion in 2018, meets the defending titlist Eden Prairie in the semifinals at noon on Saturday, Feb. 22 at Braemar Arena in Edina.
The Eagles scored three times in the third period to beat Shakopee 4-1.
The two Lake Conference rivals split in the regular season, a 4-3 score for Eden Prairie at home Jan. 16, and a 3-1 rematch win for the Skippers at Pagel on Feb. 8.