Thelen had junior Molly Cooke in goal for the previous 100 minutes of the contest, in which the Lakers and Red Hawks played to a 2-2 tie.
But Thelen had determined coming into the contest that if it indeed went to a shootout, he would go with Reed, despite the fact she was a freshman and would likely be coming in untested off the bench.
Thelen based his reasoning, of all things, on a lopsided late-in-the-season junior varsity game.
“The second to last game for the JV team, we were playing Fremont, and we were up big,” Thelen recalled. “Nora hadn't touched the ball the entire game, but late in the second half, we were called for a (penalty kick). Even though she hadn't faced a shot, she stepped up and saved it.
“Yeah, she's our back-up and our starting JV goalie, but she's quick off the line and we've seen her do it in practice. Molly was a little upset with the decision, but it's a million dollar bet. If it goes, it goes. If it doesn't, it doesn't.”
Reed made her coach look smart, as she made an impressive diving save on Cedar Springs' fourth penalty kick to give the Lakers a thrilling 4-3 victory in the shootout. Spring Lake (14-6 overall) advances to Friday's regional championship against DeWitt. The Panthers blanked Mount Pleasant in Tuesday's later semifinal at Cedar Springs, 3-0.
A complete recap of the Lakers' victory will be in Wednesday's print edition of the Grand Haven Tribune and on www.grandhaventribune.com