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Grand Rapids-Greenway wins in OT at state girls hockey tournament

ST. PAUL -- Grand Rapids-Greenway vs. Centennial concluded the same way it started -- with a barrage of Lightning shots. In overtime, the distinction was the Lightning scored on Cougars goalie Cassi Carpenter. Molly Arola netted the game-winning ...

ST. PAUL -- Grand Rapids-Greenway vs. Centennial concluded the same way it started -- with a barrage of Lightning shots.

In overtime, the distinction was the Lightning scored on Cougars goalie Cassi Carpenter.

Molly Arola netted the game-winning goal off a rebound at 2:22 in overtime to boost Grand Rapids-Greenway over Centennial 2-1 in a Class AA high school girls hockey quarterfinal Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center.

"It's a great feeling," said Arola, a junior forward, of her 25th goal of the season. "I can't explain it. It was a team effort."

Grand Rapids-Greenway (24-3-2) will play Farmington (19-7-2) in an 8 p.m. semifinal today at Xcel.

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The Lightning started the game with a 13-2 shot edge after one period, but the game remained scoreless.

"We dominated the first," Arola said. "We knew if we kept shooting we could get it done."

But after an even and scoreless second period, Sarah Armstrong gave Centennial a 1-0 lead at 4:44 in the third when she beat Lightning goalie Jessica Havel on her left side.

At 12:11 in the third, Morgan Illikainen tied the game whenshe skated past Cougar defenders and beat Carpenter before she could raise her glove.

"All season, when we are down a goal, the bench doesn't sink," Lightning coach Chris Granley said. "Then Molly Illikainen gave us adrenaline. That shot gave us momentum."

The Lightning couldn't convert on a power play during the final two minutes of regulation, but capitalized on a player advantage in overtime.

To start the final period, the Lightning's Dana Gallop left the penalty box and created a breakaway, but the sophomore lost the puck before getting a shot off.

Later in the period, Emily Erickson skated past two Cougar defenders and could have had a scoring opportunity but she was checked, which resulted in a penalty.

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The Lightning had a 33-14 shot advantage, similar to Eagan's 35-8 shot edge over Farmington in an earlier semifinal Thursday, yet Farmington's eighth-grade goalie Jessica Erchul stopped all 35 shots in a 1-0 win.

Carpenter and Havel experienced contrasting first periods.

Carpenter, a Centennial senior, stopped 13 shots, while Havel, a Grand Rapids-Greenway junior, made two saves in the first 17 minutes.

In the first period, Grand Rapids-Greenway was led offensively by Erickson, a Ms. Hockey finalist, and defensively by Heather Horgen and Kayla Clafton.

Erickson, a senior winger, had six scoring chances, while Horgen and Clafton got their sticks and bodies between the Cougars and Havel.

Centennial (24-5) rebounded in the second period, with six shots on goal to the Lightning's seven.

Grand Rapids-Greenway is making its second straight state tournament appearance.

Centennial 0-0-1-0--1

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Grand Rapids-Greenway 0-0-1-1--2

First period -- no scoring.

Second period -- no scoring.

Third period -- 1. C, Sarah Armstrong (Kiley Gibbons) 4:44; 2. GRG, Morgan Illikainen, 12:11.

Overtime -- 3. GRG, Molly Arola (Dana Gallop) 2:22 (pp).

Saves -- Jessica Havel, GRG, 13. Cassi Carpenter, C, 31.

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