Prairie Centre captured the championship of the Willmar Thanksgiving Holiday hockey tournament with an exciting, 4-3 overtime win over Austin Saturday afternoon.
Abby Ecker once again led the way for the Blue Devils, scoring two goals, including the game-winner in overtime.
This followed Friday’s overtime defeat (3-2) of the Mankato East Cougars in which Ecker scored the overtime game-winner as well.
The Blue Devils used a stingy defense to frustrate both teams' leading scorers.
"We have been working on defensive zone coverage extensively since the beginning of the season and this weekend it seemed to pay off a bit,” explained Prairie Centre head coach Bob Bergman.
In the championship contest, the Packers jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to a pair of first period goals.
After a scoreless second period, the Blue Devils were finally able to get going offensively, scoring three times. Allyson Daignault and Gabby Olson each recorded an unassisted goal to tie the game at 2-2 before Ecker scored the first of her two goals shorthanded to put Prairie Centre ahead 3-2 at the 13:28 mark. Olson earned the helper on the scoring play.
Just over two minutes later, Austin knotted things up at 3-3 on a goal with just 1:25 remaining in regulation.
But just 32 seconds into the extra session, Ecker scored for the second time to give the Blue Devils the win and the championship.
Coach Bergman was emotional after the game, as he was impressed with his team's grit, and their ability to stick together and fight back from an early two-goal deficit.
"I believe this game showed that these kids love this game as much as I do and I was especially impressed with how they fought back from adversity and would not be denied,” Bergman said. “This character will serve us well down the road as we get into the meat of the season."