It was North by North Thursday night at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul as Christy Vetter scored the game winning goal with 3:50 left in overtime to lead the Lakeville North Panthers to a 5-4 win over the North Wright County Riversharks in the Class AA quarterfinals.
The Riverhawks took the early lead when Dani Sibley had the puck on the left side of the goal, skated through the left slot and scored an unassisted goal. The Panthers evened the scored on a rebound goal from Ashley Kloncz as she positioned herself on the left side of the net. NWC regained the lead when Rachel King got a pass from Marina Chapman, went along the boards and into the right faceoff circle and scored.
Lakeville North found the net twice in the second period. Taylor Flaherty scored a power play goal following up Heidi Winecki's shot. Then Alexis Joyce, the Panthers scoring leader with 49 points, took a shot from behind the blue line that went past NWC goalie Alex Lamere and into the net
. It looked liked the Panthers would put the game away in the third period as Winecki centered the puck to Megan Skelly to give them a two goal lead. But the Riverhawks came back faster than a car heading up I-94 with a pair of goals. Maddie Sjelin cut the lead to one and Rachel King had a couple of shots saved before Kaleigh Hamann found the net with 2:49 left in regulation.
The game entered overtime. Lakeville North took advantage of a power play opportunity adter Mackenzie Johnson received a two minute body checking penalty. Winecki and Kloncz had shots that were missed and Vetter from the right side of Lamere depositted the puck in the goal to send the Panthers into the semifinals against Minnetonka Friday night at 8 at the Xcel Energy Center.
North Wright County will play Irondale in the consolation semifinals Friday at noon at Ridder arena on the University of Minnesota campus.
The evening session attendance was 2,214. Add the afternoon attendance of 3,506 and the total Class AA quarterfinal count was 5,720.