The Zephyrs and the Wildcats from Eagan played an exciting, back and forth, state semi-final game last night to determine who would face Benilde-St. Margaret’s School in the MSHSL state championship. The pace of this game was outstanding.
The Zephyrs grabbed an early 4-2 lead at the end of the first quarter with Campbell getting on the score sheet twice, with Pilla, and Lindquist adding goals. The Wildcats, ranked as the number one team in the state, were a resilient group last night and always seemed to come back harder once we would score. In the second quarter Lindquist and Pilla added goals to get the Zephyrs to a 6-4 lead with about three minutes left in the half. The Wildcats used this time to score three more goals, including two in the last 20 seconds of the half, to take the halftime lead, 6-7.
The Zephyrs opened up the second half fast. Pilla scored to get the game back to a tie. Stoker added another to gain the 8-7 lead. Dardis got on the board to get the lead to two and after a Wildcats goal, Rohrer tucked one in to get the score to 10-8 heading in to the fourth quarter.
The Zephyrs kept their momentum going early on in the fourth quarter with another goal from Pilla to get the lead to 11-8. With 7:24 seconds left in the contest Eagan cut the lead to two, and a minute later the Wildcats cut the lead down to one. The pace during the fourth quarter at this point of the game was fast and furious. There was a two minute stretch where each team had odd man rushes in which full sprints were required to get back or capitalize on the opportunity and neither team could make the most of their chances. With just about four minutes remaining Eagan settled down the ball and scored the equalizer to make the score, 11-11. Both teams had great chances to get the go ahead goal in the final minutes. With 1:17 seconds left the Zephyrs hit the pipe on a rocket shot from Ryan Pilla and with 25 seconds remaining Eagan had a goal disallowed on a crease violation! It would take sudden death overtime to decide who would move on.
In the extra period the Zephyrs won the draw. The Zephyrs once again received great face-off play from Honebrink and Hagstrom during the entire contest. There was a costly turnover committed at the mid-field before the Zephyrs could get structured in their offensive end and a mad frenzy to see who could come up with the ground ball ensued. Ultimately the ball ended up in the Wildcats stick and shortly after they scored the game winner.
The Zephyrs will play their next game on Saturday at 1pm at Minnetonka High School against the Wayzata Trojans during the MSHSL third place game. We will see you at the field!
We would like to remind our fans that admission to state tournament games are $8 for adults and $5 for students.
The photo above features defenseman, Ethan Hamme. Photo credit to Carlos Gonzalez from the Star Tribune. View all of his photos from the semi-finals here.