Minnesota High School State Tournament Class AA Quarterfinals
Edina Hornets 7, Lakeville North Panthers 1
ST. PAUL, MN — It was an early day for the first two involved with the Minnesota Boys’ Class AA State Tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Edina (27-2), No. 2 in The HockeyClan State Rankings, faced-off against Lakeville North for an 11am match-up that Edina coach Curt Giles has mentioned in the past as, “Almost better because you just get up and get going — Don’t have to time to sit around and think about it.”
That is exactly what his Hornets did as they would dismantle the Panthers, 7-1, although it appeared both teams still needed some time adjusting to the larger sheet of ice compared to their home arenas.
The scoring was opened by speedster and Northern Michigan commit Jett Jungels after taking a pass from presumptive Mr. Hockey award winner Sammy Walker and Demetrios Komountzis nearly seven minutes into the period off the power play.
It wouldn’t be much later until Edina captain Lewis Crosby snagged a offensive turnover at center ice and created a play on his own to put the Hornets up 2-0. Walker would practically do the same moments later on a break-away that was shorthanded for the 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
If three of their best players scoring wasn’t enough, Brett Chorske put one on the board for a rare score to increase the Hornet lead to 4-0 on the power play on a pass that appeared to be tipped.
— Shayne Pasquino (@shaynepasquino) March 8, 2018
Lakeville North (16-11-2) wouldn’t go away as quietly as the Edina faithful had hoped for as Shane Griffin would net the Panthers only goal seconds after the Chorske scored by beating Edina goaltender, Garrett Mackay on his glove side.
It would be an Edina pass in clinic for the rest of the period as the outstanding Walker-Jungels connection scored another shorthanded goal before Mason Nevers added two of his own to put the game well out of reach at 7-1.
When asked about his team’s unselfish play highlighted by Walker’s goal and four assists, Giles was straight to the point.
“They don’t care who gets the goals, they don’t care who gets the points, they just want to compete,” Giles said.
— Edina Hornets (@edinahornets) March 8, 2018
Edina’s speed and skill will be tough for anyone to handle, as it has all year.
“We jumped on them early and used our speed on the rush and on the forecheck,” Walker said. “Our passing and speed took over the game.”
The entire third would be played with running time as the Hornets utilized their depth and allowed their first line to rest for their semifinal match-up tomorrow evening at 6pm against Duluth East.
Lakeville North will be playing in the consolation bracket at Mariucci Arena at the University of Minnesota on Friday at 10am against St. Michael-Albertville.
1-Sammy Walker, Edina, 1G, 4A, 5Pts
2-Jett Jungels, Edina, 2 G, 2A, 4Pts
3-Mason Nevers, Edina, 2 G
Duluth East Greyhounds 5, St. Michael-Albertville Knights 0
ST. PAUL, MN — Immediately following Edina’s drubbing of Lakeville North, the Duluth East Greyhounds mimicked them and put on a show of their own against the St. Michael-Albertville Knights winning 5-0.
It took Duluth East time to readjust back to the ice at the Xcel Energy Center as the first period was surprisingly even for an experienced Greyhounds team against St. Michael which was making their first appearance at state.
East’s Garrett Worth, a top “Mr. Hockey” finalist, would open the scoring with his classic sniper shot to put the Hounds up one late in the first before adding his second on a rebound that the Knights failed to locate.
The second period is when the floodgates finally opened for Duluth East (24-2-3). After Worth added his second, sophomore Logan Anderson added to what should be a fine career with his first score of the tournament and Ian Mageau connected immediately after him to give Duluth East a 4-0 lead.
Worth, however, wanted to prove he is a serious contender for the Mr. Hockey award by netting a hat trick with his 45th goal of the season to stake the Greyhounds to a 5-0 advantage.
The Knights (23-6) were unable to keep up with East’s physical and quick style of play and let sloppy play kill them in the end, especially in the second frame when they allowed three goals in short order.
Duluth East’s victory sets up the first game of what should be an amazing evening of semifinal hockey tomorrow. They have had Edina’s number in recent seasons which has created an interesting rivalry as they’ve beaten them in both the 2011 and 2015 semifinals. Edina did beat them in 2013 in the semifinals on their way to winning the championship, but the two conflicting styles of play is always a blast to keep an eye on.
1-Garrett Worth, Duluth East, 3G, 1A, 4Pts
2-Ian Mageau, Duluth East, 1G, 2A, 3Pts
3-Parker Kleive, 28/28 saves
Minnetonka Skippers 6, Hill-Murray Pioneers 2
ST. PAUL, MN — Both Minnetonka and Hill-Murray were riding high after their section final wins.
The Skippers needed double overtime to take down a resilient Holy Family Catholic team, while Hill-Murray pulled out and upset over White Bear Lake, but only Minnetonka came out and proved they were deserving of their top-seed as the No. 1 team in the HockeyClan rankings upended Hill-Murray, 6-2, on Thursday night.
The game began quickly with both teams scoring on their opening shots from Joe Molenaar and James Miller for Minnetonka (25-2-2) and Michael Fleischhacker for Hill-Murray (13-12-4).
It was expected that the game would become a shootout, but it ended in a one-sided affair with Minnetonka pulling away halfway through the first with additional goals from Luke Loheit and Matt Koethe.
With only the small, private school band accompanying Hill-Murray and a quiet student section and no band from Minnetonka, the atmosphere was lacking even after the scoring blitz in the first.
Hill-Murray, like Lakeville North earlier in the day, tried to put up a fight by sneaking in a bad goal from Joseph Quasts, but that fight was short lived, though, as Bobby Brink got a backhand goal only 20 seconds later to make it 5-2.
In what had become a theme in the third period of he quarterfinal games, not much occurred. It could have been a huge turning point for the Pioneers after Loheit was sent to the box with a five-minute major, but nothing was gained and Minnetonka was even able to add a shorthanded goal from Brink for his second of the game to cap the scoing at 6-2.
— Shayne Pasquino (@shaynepasquino) March 9, 2018
The atmosphere, however, became lively as the fans for the 8pm game between St. Thomas and Centennial, with help from the yearly hooligans in Section 222 and 207, provided the most entertainment of the evening with risqué chants and lost beach balls.
With the win, Minnetonka moves onto the semifinals against Centennial set for 8pm on Friday night.
1-Bobby Brink, Minnetonka, 2G
2-Josh Luedtke, Minnetonka, 3A
3-Grant Docter, Minnetonka, 3 A
Centennial Cougars 3, St. Thomas Academy Cadets 2
ST. PAUL, MN — In the MSHSL nightcap, St. Thomas Academy took a two-goal lead only to see it evaporate as the Centennial Cougars stormed back to pull out a 3-2 victory in the final quarterfinal bout of the day.
It started close, with the teams feeling each other out and trading shots on goal until the Cadets broke through off a Cade Huntley with 4:54 left in the first.
Only two minutes later, St. Thomas Academy would strike again, but the goal was initially controversial as the puck appeared to be kicked in and the net run into by Luke Herzog. The play was reviewed and officials determined it a good goal to give St. Thomas Academy (25-3-1) a 2-0 lead after one period.
The second provided Centennial (20-6-3) with a chance to climb back in with a more aggressive forecheck and a collapsing defense working in their favor as they cut the deficit to one when Carter Wagner slotted one in. The Cougars had a handful of chances to tie it with pucks flying at the net but were unable to capitalize on anything against the solid goaltending of St. Thomas’ Atticus Kelly.
Yet the Cougars came out even more motivated than they had been all season in the third and erased the two-goal deficit for good when Jack Menne was able to score on a rebound, shorthanded, to tie it at two.
It was their game to lose at that point as the Cadets looked fatigued and flat. Hayden Brickner put the final piece of the puzzle together for Centennial when he put them up for good at 3-2 with only 2:37 remaining in regulation.
St. Thomas had a chance to even it when a horrendous holding call on Centennial occurred and they pulled Kelly for an extra attacker, but Centennial held on for the upset win.
The tournament saw a great game that was well worth the wait through three previous blowouts.
— Jack Kewitsch (@jackkewitsch) March 9, 2018
Centennial will now face the top-seeded Minnetonka Skippers at 8pm in what many will see as a let down game after St. Thomas faltered. The Cougars will be looking to prove otherwise.
1-Hayden Brickner, Centennial, GWG
2-Travis Allen, Centennial, 32/35 saves
3-Carter Wagner, Centenntial, 1G
Written by Jack Kewitsch / @JackKewitsch
Special to HockeyClan
Main Image: Duluth East and St. Michael-Albertville stand for The National Anthem at Xcel Energy Arena on March 8, 2018. (Jack Kewitsch HockeyClan)
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