For the second time this season, a game involving the Eden Prairie High School girls hockey team was delayed by a Zamboni malfunction.
The third period between the Eagles and Holy Angels was in a holding pattern Friday night, while the crew at the Eden Prairie Community Center tried to get the rink-locked Zamboni off the ice.
The machine had almost completed its rounds, adding a fresh layer to Rink 1, when it stopped near center ice and remained motionless for approximately 10 minutes.
“Well, it’s electric,” Dean Running, the event lead at EPCC, said. “We put it on the charger and it should have been charged but we’re not sure if that’s it or if there’s something else wrong with it.”
Running said the stalled rig is the first electric Zamboni at the facility and was put into service about six months ago. The other two ice machines at EPCC are powered by propane tanks.
Despite the unusual circumstances, this was not the first time an impaired Zamboni brought an Eden Prairie girls hockey game to a screeching halt.
In a game with Wayzata on Jan. 3, the Eagles trailed the Trojans 2-0 at the end of a sluggish first period for Eden Prairie.
On that night, the Zamboni stopped working during the first-intermission resurfacing at Plymouth Ice Center, sending the game to an alternate rink within the facility.
The change in venue provided a spark for the Eagles, whose play improved dramatically over the next two periods. Eden Prairie outscored Wayzata 1-0 the rest of the way.
The Trojans won the game 2-1, but the night marked a watershed moment for the Eagles, and they improved steadily as the season progressed from that point.
Friday night’s game in progress between the Eagles and Holy Angels was tied 1-1 after two periods while the Zamboni sat idle between the blue lines, prohibiting play from resuming. No other ice sheets were available at EPCC, as Squirt and Peewee tournaments occupied rinks 2 and 3.
After 10 minutes, the arena crew was able to start the machine and keep it running long enough to get it off the ice.
“We don’t know why it happened, but I’m sure they’ll figure it out,” Running said. “I’m glad he got it off the ice. The biggest problem that you get concerned with is with that conditioner being down, it can freeze to the ice.”
The “conditioner” is the device on the back of the Zamboni which drags along the ice surface, rinsing the ice and dispersing clean, hot water.
“And if you don’t turn off the water right away, it’ll burn a hole in the ice because that’s hot water.” Running added.
With the quick work of the arena crew, play resumed for the third period, much to the delight of Eden Prairie head coach Steve Persian.
“I went into the locker room and I said, ‘OK, you can slow down and I’m not sure how long this one’s gonna take,’” he said. “But they stay focused. They were dialed in.”
Eden Prairie went on to defeat Holy Angels 2-1 in overtime after senior captain Jordan Hirsch scored the game-winning goal.
The dramatic victory put the finishing touches on a memorable senior night for the Eagles, who have won five of their last eight games to finish the regular season. They will play their first section playoff game next weekend.
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