No. 3 Minnetonka Sinks No. 1 Edina in Minnesota High School Hockey Grudge Match

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MINNETONKA, MN — In the much-anticipated rubber match between No. 1 Edina and No. 3 Minnetonka, the packed crowed at Pagel Athletic Center were curious to see which version of the Lake Conference rivalry they were going to get Saturday afternoon: Was it going to be another defensive performance from the Minnetonka Skippers like their victory in late December or would it to be an offensive explosion from the Edina Hornets like its triumph only a few weeks ago?

Edina and Minnetonka stand for The National Anthem at Pagel Athletic Center in Minnetonka, MN on Feb. 10, 2018. (Jack Kewitsch HockeyClan)

In the beginning, it looked to be a new chapter with each team keeping their cards close to the chest but it was the Minnetonka, No. 3 in The Minnesota High School Hockey Class AA Top 25, which snapped a one-all tie after two with four goals in the third period en route to a 5-3 decision over No. 1 Edina.

The first period was one of back and forth as each team figured each other out, but Tonka drew first blood when junior Jack Bayless took a cross ice feed from Bobby Brink and put it home for the 1-0 lead six minutes in.

Edina would answer with a mere two seconds remaining in the period when senior and Mr. Hockey candidate Sammy Walker flew down the far side around Minnetonka’s net and completed the wrap-around to tie it at one in what was one of the most amazing goals of the season.

Even a power play start to the second after Minnetonka’s David Andes received a five-minute major for slashing would not be enough for Edina to crack the stifling Skipper defense. The entirety of the second period was a defensive showing for both squads who did not bend or break. Edina had the best chance of the period to take even more momentum into the third when Walker took a breakaway with seconds left but was stopped by another
outstanding effort from Joe Glockner in net for Minnetonka.

Minnetonka did not want this decision slipping from them late and came out with conviction in the third. The Skippers would score three goals in quick succession from Bayless, sophomore Joe Molenaar and senior Luke Loheit to put them up 4-1.

It was Tonka’s game to cough up being up three with under ten minutes remaining, but Edina put a scare into the home crowd when Walker score shorthanded to bring the Hornets within striking distance at 4-2 before Jett Jungels would add another with 13 seconds left in the period with an empty net behind to cut it to 4-3.

That empty net would come back to bite Edina, however, as Molenaar added his second of the afternoon to finish off the 5-3 triumph over the top-ranked Hornets. Glockner stood tall with 24 saves on 27 shots while Garrett Mackay turned aside 29 of the 34 shots.

It is only the second loss for Edina which stands at 21-2 on the year with both losses coming at the hands of Minnetonka (19-2-2). It also poses the question would the outcome have been different had senior forward Demetrios Komountzis and defenseman Mike Vorlicky been present and not sidelined.

The win for Minnetonka puts them in pole position for the first seed at the state tournament. It also proved to many that Minnetonka is a legitimate threat to ​make a deep run. The third period, in which the Skippers out-shot the Hornets, 22-10, was proof as Minnetonka took in to Edina in the frame, manhandling them throughout the grudge match.

Minnetonka celebrates the first of junior Jack Bayless’ two goals in a 5-3 triumph over Edina at Pagel Athletic Center in Minnetonka, MN on Feb. 10, 2018. (Jack Kewitsch HockeyClan)

The cream of the crop in the state, many, including myself, are hoping to see them hook up again for a fourth time this season in a late-round match-up in the state tournament next month.

Both teams wrap up their regular seasons in the coming week with games against Lake Conference foes. Minnetonka plays Wayzata in the follow-up to their chippy matchup last month and Edina heads to Eden Prairie for a date with Wayzata at home.

Neither team should lose, but in arguably the best conference in hockey nothing is a given.

Three Stars:

1. F Jack Bayless (Minnetonka) – 2 G
2. F Joe Molenaar (Minnetonka) – 2 G, 1 A
3. F Sammy Walker (Edina) – 2 G

 

Written by Jack Kewitsch / @JackKewitsch 

Special to HockeyClan

 

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