ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — When the Class 2A girls hockey state tournament began, the Minnetonka Skippers joked there was nothing in the rule book barring back-to-back titles.
So the defending champs went ahead and won another one.
Sydney Rossman stopped all 23 shots she faced and top-seeded Minnetonka got goals from Holly Korn, Diana Draayer and Laura Bowman to defeat the Roseville Raiders 3-0 on Saturday and capture a second straight championship. The Skippers became just the second Class 2A team to win back-to-back titles, joining South St. Paul in 2002 and 2003.
“Last year I felt a lot of pressure that we were the most talented team in the state,” Minnetonka coach Eric Johnson said. “This year’s team believed we could do it, but I think there’s been some special play with a lot of our players scoring and (Rossman) playing fantastic to get us through some tight ones that could’ve gone either way.”
The junior goaltender and the Skippers (25-5-1) defense slowed down a Raiders offense that had scored a whopping 49 goals in its previous 10 games. Roseville junior Kate Flug, with 12 goals in her previous five contests, was held to just one shot on goal.
Rossman, whose 1.40 goals against average during the regular season was 10th best in the state, notched her seventh shutout of the season and first since blanking Buffalo on Feb. 15 in the Section 6AA semifinals. It was the first state championship shutout since Roseville blanked Edina for the 2010 title.
“It feels good, but that’s not what I was trying to do,” Rossman said. “My teammates help with that, too. It’s not just me back there.”
The Raiders’ only other shutout this season also came at the hands of Minnetonka — a 4-0 loss on Dec. 30 in a game Roseville (26-3-2) played without Flug and senior defenseman Lee Stecklein.
But even with the Raiders’ top two players in tow, the Skippers weren’t fazed.
“Rossman gave us confidence,” Johnson said. “She’s been our backstop in playoffs and we’ve almost had nine lives. She’s given us a chance to win every game and I think our team has gotten a lot of confidence in that.”
Offensively, Korn’s power play tally at 13:36 of the first period turned out to be the game-winner. It was just the fourth goal of the season for the sophomore. Draayer, who scored 10 goals in the regular season before notching four in the section and state tournaments, scored an insurance goal at 11:09 of the third period and Bowman added an empty netter as the final horn sounded.
“Both teams kept their top players at bay,” Raiders coach Vic Brodt said. “They had some others that stepped up and made the difference.”
Roseville senior Erika Allen, the state’s regular season leader with a 0.91 goals against average and nine shutouts, made 16 saves as the Raiders’ 16-game winning streak came to an end. Roseville was attempting to win its second title in the last three seasons.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)