State Girls Hockey: #1 Minnetonka survives 2-1 thriller w/ Maple Grove in AA Quarterfinal

Girls State Hockey: AA Quarterfinal – Minnetonka vs. Maple Grove

Unseeded Maple Grove gave top seed Minnetonka all it could handle before the Skippers eventually advanced with a 2-1 victory over the Crimson in the Class AA quarterfinals on Thursday, Feb. 22 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Click the video box on this page to watch extended highlights of the Class AA Girls Hockey State Quarterfinal between Minnetonka and Maple Grove

In the closing seconds of the second period, Minnetonka’s Kendra Distad gained control of the puck along with boards to the left of the Maple Grove net.  She quickly found teammate Lindzi Avar near the left dot, who found the back of the net on a wrist shot with 0.9 seconds left to snap a 1-all tie.

In the first period, Maple Grove had taken an early lead with a power play goal by Madeline Elfstrand at 11:29 with assists from Kelsey Olson and Bella Shipley. Defense was the name of the game for the remainder of the first period and much of the second period before Minnetonka broke the shutout with an even-strength goal by Allison Ryan, which was assisted by Lauren Goldsworthy and Senja Leeper at 6:41 of the second period.  

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The two goals by Minnetonka in the second period reflected a distinct change of pace in the game as Maple Grove was outshot 16-4 in the second period after outshooting Minnetonka 9-5 in the opening frame.  By the end of the game, Minnetonka owned a 35-19 edge in shots.

In a game highlighted by topflight play in the nets, Minnetonka goalie Layla Hemp had 18 saves while Maple Grove’s Dani Storm turned aside 33 shots in the game.

The Class AA champs in 2011, 2012 and 2013, Minnetonka is making its sixth consecutive state tournament appearance and will now advance to the Class AA semifinals, where it will match up at the Xcel Energy Center against the winner of the Northfield-Edina game on Friday, Feb. 23 at 8:00 p.m.  Maple Grove enters the consolation bracket and will play at the TRIA Rink in St. Paul on Friday, Feb. 23 at Noon.

Courtesy: Minnesota State High School League