Kendra Distad jumps into the arms of Lindzi Avar after Avar scored with one second left in the second period to give the Skippers a 2-1 lead. LPH PHOTO BY BRYAN ZOLLMAN

Senior snipes second-period game-winning goal with one second left

Lindzi Avar’s wrister above the shoulder of Maple Grove netminder Dani Strom with one second left in the second period was enough for top-ranked Minnetonka as they held on in the third period for a 2-1 quarterfinal win. They advance to Friday’s semifinal to face the winner of Edina and Northfield.

 

Maple Grove came out of the gate strong, outshooting the Skippers 9-5 in the first period. Maddie Elfstrand got the Crimson on board at 11:29 with a power play goal, assisted by Bella Shipley and Kelsey Olson.

The Skippers picked up their game in the second and turned the tides, outshooting the Crimson 16-4. Allison Ryan tied the score at 6:41 and the Skippers controlled play the rest of the period. But Maple Grove senior goaltender and Jori Jones Award finalist Dani Strom was stellar and held the Skippers’ high-potent offense, particularly the first line of Lauren Mack-Avar-Kendra Distad, off the board.

Then, with the seconds ticking away in the second, Distad found Avar in the slot and Avar fired a missile over the shoulder of Strom for a 2-1 lead.

Lauren Mack tries to move past a Maple Grove defender in Minnetonka’s 2-1 win to advance to Friday’s Class AA semifinals.

The third period was much like the second with Minnetonka tilting the ice to the tune of a 14-6 shot differential. But Strom stood tall again and the Crimson defense helped clear rebounds and protect the front of the net. It did appear the Skippers sealed the win with two and a half mintes to go when Avar found a streaking Distad who shelved one past Strom. But after review it was deemed Distad was offside.

Maple Grove had a couple small threats late in the game but Minnetonak goalie Layla Hemp helped secure the win with 18 saves on the night.

Maple Grove fell to 20-8-1 with the loss while the Skippers improved to 26-2-1. Maple Grove will face the loser of the Northfield/Edina and Minnetonka the winner in Friday night’s semifinal.

Maple Grove’s Harper Wieneke movs up ice in Thursday’s quarterfinal loss to top-ranked Minnetonka.