Prior Lake's Justin Simonson (5) scored three goals, including the game-winner in overtime, against Edina in the Section 6 championship game. The Lakers defeated the Hornets 8-7 at Kuhlman Stadium in Edina. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
Standing on a stretch of track next to the turf at Kuhlman Field in Edina on Thursday, the Prior Lake boys’ team watched their female counterparts face off against Edina in their Section 6 final. While the boys looked on, they saw their classmates erase a two-goal deficit and upset the top-seeded Hornets in Edina.
Little did the Prior Lake boys know, they would be following in similar footsteps just hours later on that same field. Trailing by three goals in the third quarter, the Lakers sparked a comeback to defeat Edina 8-7 in overtime to clinch their fifth consecutive trip to the state tournament.
The Lakers and Hornets, ranked No. 5 and No. 3 in the final coaches’ poll of the season, respectively, played each other during the regular season, resulting in the Hornets beating Prior Lake 10-9 on April 24.
The teams met again Thursday with the top-seeded Hornets holding home-field advantage. But there didn’t seem to be much room between Edina and second-seeded Prior Lake when it came to skill level.
“Both teams were really deserving,” said Prior Lake coach Casey Mithun. “Both teams were talented, had good schemes and good scouts. We knew it was going to be a tight game the whole time.”
Prior Lake's Dalton Spratt (18) scored twice against Edina in the Section 6 Championship Thursday night. The Lakers defeated the Hornets 8-7 in overtime in Edina. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
Trailing by as many as three goals in the second half Thursday night, second-seeded Prior Lake fought back late in the third quarter and into the fourth quarter against top-seeded Edina in the Section 6 championship game at Kuhlman Field. Junior Justin Simonson’s goal in overtime gave the Lakers an 8-7 win and the team’s fifth consecutive section championship.
Much like the team’s first meeting during the regular season, which resulted in a 10-9 win for Edina on April 24, this game was decided by just one goal with the two west metro heavyweights going back and forth.
Neither team led by more than one goal in the first half and they went into the break tied up at 3.
In the third quarter, the Hornets (13-3) forged ahead with three unanswered goals to open the quarter. Max Nelsen had one of the tallies and finished with a pair of goals.
The comeback began for Prior Lake (13-3) with one minute remaining in the third quarter. The Lakers scored twice in the quarter, including a goal by Jack Smith with 18 seconds left to make it a one-goal game.
The teams traded long possessions in the fourth quarter. Then, Prior Lake converted on a chance when Dalton Spratt scored with about five minutes left in regulation to tie the match at 6.
There were some epic highs and lows for both sides as the clock wound down in the fourth quarter. With 1 minute, 2 seconds left in the quarter, Smith scored for the Lakers to put them ahead 7-6.
With just eight seconds left in the fourth, Edina responded with midfielder Drew Hatch taking advantage of a Prior Lake turnover to tie the game at 7 and force a sudden-death overtime.
Simonson’s goal in the extra session was his third of the evening. He came into the matchup with a team-best 33 goals.
With the win, Prior Lake moves on to next week’s state tournament at Stillwater High School.
Edina’s Drew Hatch (29) battles with a Prior Lake defender for a loose ball in the Section 6 Final at Kuhlman Stadium in Edina. Hatch had a goal in the Hornets’ 8-7 overtime loss to the Lakers. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
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