The boys hockey team defeated Hastings 10-1 in Thursday night’s Section 3AA championship game at the State Fairground’s Coliseum.
Eagan will advance to the Class AA state tournament.
This victory comes on the heels of a highly successful season for the Wildcats, whose record prior to Thursday’s game was 23-3-1.
The Wildcats took an early lead, and held on to it for the entirety of the game.
“We got on them pretty quick,” said head coach Mike Taylor. “We had good energy right from the drop.”
Eagan scored four goals in the first period alone, and continued to dominate throughout the second period, in which they scored three goals. Early in the third period, Hastings fought aggressively to keep the puck in Eagan’s zone. However, approximately four minutes into the period, the Wildcats scored their eighth and ninth goals within seconds of one another, maintaining their command of the ice.
Hastings scored their only goal in the final minute of play.
Nine team members scored for Eagan over the course of the game.
“A strength of our team is our depth,” said Taylor.
This depth of skill is likely due to the team’s collective experience. Taylor speculated that the group’s veteran status was one of their primary advantages in Thursday’s game against Hastings.
The 2012 Wildcats also share a unique bond that comes from a lifetime on the ice together. Many of the team’s senior players have been close friends since elementary school.
“I think those seniors are unique,” said Taylor. “I don’t think every team has that kind of camaraderie.”
The Wildcats are looking forward to the chance to compete at state.
“Stepping on that ice that first game, the crowd just cheering all around you, is great,” said EHS senior and Wildcats right defenseman Sam Wolfe.
This year’s state competition is particularly important for the Wildcats because it offers a chance at redemption. Last year the team competed at the state tournament, but came in third.
“I think we threw all our energy into the first one last year,” said Taylor. “I would hope that they understand it takes three great performances to bring home that hardware, not just one big day.”
The Class AA state hockey tournament will take place March 7-10.