The White Bear Lake Moose Goheen Peewee AA tourney opened play last night (Thursday) at Vadnais Heights. Edina AA ranked #1 in the state in YHH’s NOW poll beat Lakeville North 5-2 in what will likely become the start of a David and Goliath marathon for the Hornets for the rest of the year. The win was #41 for the unbeaten Hornets.
One thing that is for certain, if Lakeville North is any indication, other peewee A teams in the state are catching up to the Hornets. It called development.
The Lakeville North team has been improving and its improvement has been noticed by YHH previously. The Panthers continue to show improvement last night proving they can play disciplined hockey and that they listened to their coaches.
At least for one night.
Their top line, led by Garrett Daly (a top 50 YHH pick last year), had an outstanding first two periods against the Hornets. That was expected. North’s other forwards proved they could skate with the Hornets. That was not expected. The Lakeville defense played well under pressure as expected.
In the end, the Hornets won by experience. Edina played with a short bench (YHH count showed four players not suited) and their forwards played well and adjusted to the missing players. Their defense was challenged and at times failed on pinches in the Lakeville zone resulting in Lakeville rushes on the Edina net. Solid goaltending helped the Hornets which is a strange thing to say when the Hornets out shot the Panthers 46-11.
But it was not “that kind of game”.
Edina was really challenged in this game, partly because the Lakeville kids came into the game with a plan and executed it forcing the Edina team to adjust and scramble. The Hornets won the game scoring three power play goals and one shorthanded goal.
The first period period opened with both teams just skating, both teams never organized an attack. Three minutes into the period, Edina drew a checking penalty. That set up a Lakeville power play and it took the Panthers 30 seconds to score. They set up in the Hornet’s zone, moved the puck to the right corner and found Maggie Flaherty in the slot. She rapped a rebound into the upper left corner from the top of the crease to give Lakeville a 1-0 lead. Garrett Daly and Spencer Schneider got the assists.
Three minutes later, a Panther high sticking penalty put the Hornets on the power play. Ninety seconds later, Edina scored. After working hard to get set up in the Lakeville zone, the Hornets took a shot from the right faceoff. The puck caromed off a player, popped over the defense and fell into a melee of players in front of the Panthers goal. Richard Holetz got the goal, Liam Malmquist got the assist. The game was tied 1-1.
Three more penalties spaced over the last six minutes interrupted the flow of the game. Neither team could get going. As the first period wound down, Edina and Lakeville North ended up in a 4-on-4 situation, but Edina’s penalty ended first creating a minute power play for the Hornets as the period was ending.
With time running out, the puck ended up in the Lakeville zone in a melee in front of the Panther net. The puck was kicked into the net in front of the ref by Edina’s Holetz. He got credit for the goal (see pictures). Jack Lagerstorm got the assist. Edina led 2-1 going into the second period.
In the first period, the Panthers were opportunists, playing defense first and looking for scoring opportunities. In the second period, wary of the nets being switched and the added distance to their bench, the Panthers became “thudders”.
A person or team that “thuds” is passive in their response. They take the best shot and respond passively. That is what the Panthers did for the second period.
They focused soley on defense inside their half of the ice, worked the puck out to the center line, dumped the puck into the Edina corners and immediately changed lines. They did that the whole period and tied the game when the Edina defense left the puck lie in the Edina corner.
At the 10 minute mark, a Lakeville forward easily beat the Hornet defender to the puck, passed it to a two breaking forwards. Blake Brandt scored for the Panthers to tie the game 2-2. Garrett Daly got the assist.
Lakeville went back to “thudding” and the Edina team started to try to hit the wing at the Lakeville blue line from their corner to catch the Panthers in a change. It never worked for the Hornets.
It took the Hornets eight minutes to regain the lead. The goal came off a shorthanded situation. The Hornets drew a slashing penalty and for ninety seconds the Panthers attacked the Edina net controlling the puck in the Hornets zone.
But these situations are what Edina lives for, they go offensive and they did. When a Lakeville forward went for a shot at the top of the crease, he was hooked in the arm from behind and the puck slid free. It was turned into a 3-on-2 rush with Edina scoring. Ben Brinkman scored the goal, Ty Madden and Richard Holetz got the assists.
Edina led 3-2 going into the third period. Edina outshoot the Panthers 11-2 in the second period, but the Lakeville “thudding” resulted in a 1-1 second period.
The ice was cleaned between the second and the third period and both teams came out of the locker room playing flat. Seven penalties were called in the period to add to the confusion.
Edina came out of the locker room forcing the play and it resulted in a ragged four minutes of hockey. The Panthers tried to return to being the opportunist.
The key sequence for the game happened at the 11 minute mark. A Lakeville forward broke down the Edina defense and broke cleanly on the Edina goal forcing Edina’s goalie, Andrew Dietrich, to make a big save.
The Edina forwards picked up the rebound and quickly established control in the Lakeville zone. A defenseman on the left point fired a shot not at the net, but at an Edina wing camped on the left post who deflected the puck into the net. This time Malmquist got the score, Brinkman and Lagerstorm got the assists.
After that, the Lakeville teams slowed and Edina remained aggressive. They added a power play goal at the five minute mark to end the scoring. Jack Jensen got the goal; Brinkman and Lagerstorm got the assists. Edina won 5-2.
The next David to step forward is Minnetonka. They play the Edina AA team Saturday morning at Vadnais Heights in the second pool game of the tourney
The gap between Edina AA and other peewee teams is closing. It always does at this time of the year for the peewee A teams that are coming together as a team.
Edina AA will be challenged often in the next six weeks.
In the end, no matter what parents and coaches say, all the kids on these teams are 12 and 13 year old kids and all are athletic. They wouldn’t be on the ice if they were not; and all the kids need time to develop to play hockey well.
As long as the adults stay out of it, it is fun to have a team like Edina AA out there playing Minnesota Hockey. And certainly the kids that play them need that challenge.