Tuesday night at the Burnsville ice center, the short bench Edina Bantam AA team beat the Burnsville Blaze in a key District 6 game. The Blaze beat the Hornets 7-5 five weeks ago and then lost to them 7-4 in the semifinals of the Spirit of Duluth tourney last Sunday.
Last season, this game would have been tense because of the impact on the D6 playoffs. Not this year. With only seven teams in the Bantam AA league and with the D6 playoffs headed toward separate bantam AA and bantam A playoffs, both teams are unlikely to finish lower then fourth place.
Both teams showed up with a short bench. Edina skated 10 players and a goalie, Burnsville skated 11 players and a goalie. At the end of the game, the Blaze’s Eric Otto and Colton Kirshbaum dominated the play. Still, the tired Hornets hung on to win by scoring a third period, shorthanded, goal.
The Hornets jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Jack Stanchfield scored an unassisted goal one minute into the game. Auggie Moore scored three minutes later to put the Hornets up 2-0. Hunter Oesterreich and Sammy Walker got the assists. Late in the period, the Blaze’s Eric Otto scored to cut the lead to 2-1. Cade Borchardt got the assist.
The second period was evenly skated until the last three minutes. Then and Edina penalty at the the three minute mark was followed at the one minute mark by a double minor and a 10 minute misconduct. The Hornets easily killed the first minute of the 4 minute penalty. The second period ended with the Hornets still leading 2-1.
The Burnsville power play fell apart in the first 3 minutes of the third period. It was a sign of what was to happen. The Blaze tried to rush the puck individually, not recognizing that the Hornets were laying back on the penalty kill to trap them. The Hornets easily killed the remainder of penalty. And then a strange thing happened.
Playing the Hornets full strength, the Blaze established puck control in the Hornet’s zone and pummeled Edina’s goalie. DeGrood hung in the crease and the Hornets were gasping. What the Blaze couldn’t do with a man advantage, they did even up. At the 7 minute mark, the Hornets drew a roughing penalty. it looked like the Blaze would tie the game.
Instead a misplayed puck ended up with a face off in the Blaze’s zone left. The Hornets won the face off and drove the puck to the right slot where Grant Mishmash put the puck into the net left. Auggie Moore got the assist. It was a game saver for the Hornets.
Stung the by the goal, the Blaze got their power play working. They gained possession in the Hornets zone and moved the puck along the blue line and put the puck on the goalie where the Blaze’s Roman Ahcan rapped it into the net to cut the lead to 3-2. Otto and Borchardt got the assists.
The Blaze pressured the tired Hornet’s net after that. The puck was constantly in Edina’s zone. At one point, the Edina bench was slow to send out a line. They were admonished by the ref to do so or he would drop the puck.
The loss hurt the Blaze’s title chances. It was their fourth D6 loss. But this year, nobody seems to care. For the Blaze finishing fourth would give Burnsville a warmup game before playing the league champion. That might be a better position to be in.