EDEN PRAIRIE, MN — Coming off just their second loss of the season, to the same team in No. 1 Minnetonka no less, Edina needed a bounce back performance Thursday night against arguably their biggest rival in Eden Prairie and to prove they are still the team to beat in the State of Hockey.
Edina (22-2) accomplished just that with a 6-3 victory over the No. 22 Eagles at Eden Prairie Community Center in a game that took the Hornets the first two periods to find their rhythm before exploding for five unanswered to win.
It initially appeared that Eden Prairie was going to be in for another long night after Mr. Hockey finalist Demetrious Komountzis sniped in a goal from the point less than two minutes in to give the Hornets the early 1-0 lead.
Eden Prairie looked to turn the tables, though, as they struck back quickly to tie the game at 1-1 after a shot from the blue line hit the iron and was rebounded in by Eagles’ junior Jack Jensen two minutes later.
The Eagles then took advantage of awful defensive zone play by the Hornets when Sam Wilhite snuck a shot from the goal line right behind Edina’s Garrett Mackay’s pad for a 2-1 lead off a turnover less than a minute after tying the game.
Yet another turnover a minute later from Mason Nevers would lead to Jensen one-on-one with Mackay and the senior made no mistake putting Eden Prairie up 3-1. Eagles.
With two early goals, Jensen showed up voters proving he should have been among the Mr. Hockey finalists instead of being snubbed.
Edina would not going to go down without a fight, however, as captain Ben Brinkman scored on a shot that traveled through heavy traffic with the Hornets on a power play to cut it to 3-2 going into the first intermission.
With the first frame jam-packed with excitement in terms of scoring, the second was a complete 180 for the majority of the period. Edina initially thought they tied the game 10 minutes into the second period, but the referee said the puck was kicked in to much dismay from the Edina bench.
The Hornets redeemed themselves, though, with a minute to go in the period when Komountzis won an offensive face-off, passed it around before finding it back on his stick in front from Brinkman to tie the game at three apiece.
The third proved to be all Edina, which used its superior athleticism to score three more times in the period as Jett Jungels and Sammy Walker hit before Nevers added an empty-netter to put the Eagles away for good.
While the 6-3 victory looks good on paper, it was another win in the face of adversity for the Hornets who close out their regular season on Saturday at home versus No. 12 Wayzata. This squad needs more consistent play from their back lines and goalkeeping if they do not want to succumb to the “Wayzata Curse” they have faced each of the last two years after falling to the Trojans at sectionals.
Eden Prairie (9-14-1) should coast into sections with a win over Hopkins in a game that should allow them to rest up and focus on making it back to state with a less than stellar lineup compared to last year’s third place squad.
1. F Demetrios Komountzis (Edina) – 2 G, 1 A, 3 Pts
2. F Mason Nevers (Edina) – 1 G, 3 A, 4 Pts
3. F Sammy Walker (Edina) – 1 G, 1 A, 2 Pts
Written by Jack Kewitsch / @JackKewitsch
Special to HockeyClan
Main Image: Emmett Wurst (16) and Canyon Pergrande (44) battle for the puck off the face-off in a game between Edina and Eden Prairie at Eden Prairie Community Center in Eden Prairie, MN on Feb. 15, 2018. (Lasalle Boston BostonCreations.net)
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