It will be a moment to remember for Emily Bergland when she scored the eventual game winning goal with 3:06 left in regulation time to lead the Thief River Falls Prowlers to a 3-1 win over the Blake Bears in the Class A girls hockey championship Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
It was the first state title for the northwest Minnesota school and the became the sixth school to win a state title in their first trip to state, the first since Minnetonka in 2011.
The Bears broke through early as fans were treated to the final episode of “The Karlie and Carly Show” :21 into the game. Karlie Lund fed Carly Bullock and she bulldozed her way through a couple of Prowler defenders and sent it into the net.
Thief River Falls evened the score in the second period. Sylvie Maroll’s hot was saved by Blake goalie Anna Kruesel and Kora Torkelson picked up the loose puck in the center of the crease and tapped it in.
Going to the third period, it looked like there would be overtime since both teams were playing solid defense. The Bears Jordan Chancellor made a key block on a power play attempt and Marshall made some key saves. But there would be no eight minute overtime period for the Class A final as Torkelson delivered a pass to Bergland along the left boards. She crossed the blue line and went top shelf to give the Prowlers the lead. But Thief River Falls, who plays their home games at the Ralph Englestad Arena, took advantage of an empty Blake net and Maroli fired a shot from the right boards all the way into the net with :44.4 remaining.
Marshall, who gave up only three goals in the tournament was the recipient of the Herb Brooks Award, which goes to a player that best exemplifies the characteristics of the late coach. She received the award, accompanied by the Prowlers fans chant of “Frannie! Frannie! Frannie!”
The Prowlers conclude their season with a record of 26-1-3. The Bears wrapped up the season with a 26-5 record.
In the third place game, the Red Wing Wingers beat the South St. Paul Packers 3-2. Taylor Heise scored the game winning goal with :52.4 left in regulation. The Alexandria Cardinals won their second straight consolation title on Laura Niska’s goal with :17 left in the second period at Ridder Arena on the University of Minnesota campus.
Three Blake players will be playing at Ivy League schools next season. Lund will be headed to Princeton while Chancellor and Lucy Burton are on their way next season to Yale. Also committing to Princeton is Bullock.