Lourdes vs. Faribault girls hockey Section 1A Championship

Lourdes' Isa Heim celebrates with teammate Emma Schmitz (7) after Heim scored a goal in the first period of the Section 1A championship game against Faribault on Thursday at the Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

OWATONNA — Rochester Lourdes' top line has combined for 111 points this season.

Isa Heim has nine of them.

But the team-first senior winger couldn't have scored a much bigger goal at a much bigger time than she did Thursday.

With the Eagles up two goals and fully controlling play midway through the first period of the Section One, Class A girls hockey championship game, Heim was in the right place at the right time, with her stick in the right position.

In a split second, she capitalized on her opportunity.

Emma Schmitz — the opposite winger on the Eagles' top line, centered by fellow senior Sarah Dravis — made a quick cut to the net and put a backhand shot on goal. Falcons goalie Mikayla Bohner — one of 10 semifinalists for the state's Senior Goalie of the Year award — made the initial save, but the rebound bounced right to Heim.

She had her stick on the ice and quickly snapped a shot just under the crossbar.

The goal — just Heim's sixth of the season and eighth of her three-year varsity career — gave Lourdes a 3-0 lead just 8:15 into the game and visibly deflated Faribault's players. Lourdes went on to earn a 5-1 victory and a trip to the Class A state tournament, which begins Wednesday at the Xcel Energy Center.

"To see Isa score the way she did, that was a complete back-breaker for their confidence," Lourdes head coach Jeff True said. "... We've been working on our (third forward) being very disciplined in the slot, going after rebounds, keeping sticks on the ice and being ready for those rebounds.

"Isa, the amount of energy she generated with her stick on the ice there, she was where she was supposed to be at the right time, Emma created that play for her and she buried it."

Heim plays on a line with Lourdes' top two scorers, but she excels at the things that don't show up in a box score. She has 26 career points, but her value far exceeds the stat sheet.

"We have a lot of players — forwards — who can play good defensive hockey, but Isa is the best defensive forward we have," True said. "She's so disciplined and if she's the (third forward) she knows where to be, when to go, when to pressure and when to back off.

"She's just so intelligent on the ice. She does all the gritty stuff down low where, we're then allowed to have Sarah and Emma kind of fly around the ice and create things offensively, score the flashy goals. Isa's the grinder, the one who puts the hard hat on and takes the lunch pail to work and goes and gets the paycheck. Without a girl like Isa on this team, we're not where we are right now."

Heim was quick to credit Schmitz for making the hustle play that led to her goal, and she said she's more excited about the bigger picture — getting to play in a state tournament as a senior — than she was about her own success.

"Emma had a good backhand shot on net and the rebound just kind of came right out front to me," Heim said. "I owe it all to her for getting the puck on the net; good things happen after that.

"It honestly means everything to us to get back to state, because I feel that we have a chance to prove ourselves this year and we have high expectations for what we want to do."

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