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Apple Valley goaltender Taylor DeForrest makes a record 112 saves

As East Ridge celebrated, DeForrest slumped motionless to the ground.

As East Ridge celebrated, DeForrest slumped motionless to the ground.

Taylor DeForrest made the save.

The Apple Valley High School goaltender deflected the incoming puck wide, where it should've been no threat. But East Ridge's Anya Hafiz was skating right into its path. She backhanded the puck, beating DeForrest, and Apple Valley, with a single smooth motion. 

Deforrest sank to her knees, then lay face-down on the ice. East Ridge was advancing to the sectional semifinals, Apple Valley was eliminated, and she was very, very tired. She knew that much. 

What DeForrest would only learn later was that her team's 3-2 loss Wednesday night was historic. At six overtimes, and almost 122 minutes, the game is the longest girls' hockey game ever recorded in Minnesota. DeForrest's game was historic, too. She knew it was the most shots she'd ever faced in one game, but she wasn't keeping track. Maybe she'd stopped 50 or 60 shots.

Try 112, Taylor. This, too, was a record for the most saves ever recorded in an overtime girls' hockey game. The old record? 59.

"I had no idea," DeForrest says. Friends were texting her about how proud they were.  When DeForrest stopped by school briefly Thursday to pick up an ACT test prep packet, five different teachers stopped her to give her a hug.

DeForrest stopped by school briefly on Thursday, and was hugged by five teachers.

DeForrest stopped by school briefly on Thursday, and was hugged by five teachers.

"It's sort of shocking, and inspiring, that all of that reaction could come from just one game," she says. 

Apple Valley coach Don Erdall has been playing and coaching hockey for 26 years, and still struggles to explain what happened the night before.

"If I knew, I'd tell you," Erdall said. "It was the most bizarre, incredible thing I've ever seen at a hockey arena in my life."

Erdall notes that DeForrest was hardly alone in turning in a remarkable performance. East Ridge also played its heart out, with goaltender Chloe Heiting making 38 saves of her own. Erdall also had special praise for his defenseman Sophia Leong. Leong scored both Apple Valley goals, playing a mind-boggling 117 minutes. Through injuries, Apple Valley was reduced to 10 skaters. Not that [Leong] gave him a choice. 

"I have a great relationship with all the players, and [Leong] was kind of giving me this look," Erdall says. "Like, 'If you take me out, we're going to have issues.'" 

As for DeForrest, she knew she was in for a long night after Leong scored late in the third period to tie the game 2-2. In fact, they played another 50 minutes.

Erdall told his players that the way DeForrest was playing, she was going to stop East Ridge's firs shot every time, and they needed to protect her on the rebounds. He was right, as that's how the epic contest ended, along with Apple Valley's season. 

"That shot would've beat anyone," Erdall says. "If it was going to end on an overtime goal, it was going to be that goal."

No one took it harder than DeForrest. Erdall tried to put the game in context, telling his exhausted players, many of them crying, what they had just gone through, win or lose.

"I told them, they're going to remember this for the rest of their lives," Erdall says. "They're such competitors. All they wanted was a couple more practices and another game." 

DeForrest, a junior, will have more games. None will be like this.

"It's bittersweet, but we left everything on the ice, all of us," she says. "We did lose, but it was a battle worth losing."