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Magician U18 takes on top Tier 1 Teams

By frederick61, 10/02/15, 12:45PM CDT


Magician U18 line Otto (17) Thomas (23) from Burnsville with Buesgens (15) Chanhassen had a great NAHL Showcase

The Minnesota Magicians U18 team is in its third season and will find itself as the only Minnesota team playing top U18 Tier I teams in the Compuware Honeybaked Invitational Tournament this weekend in Detroit.  The Magicians are one of 20 teams entered.  Nationally ranked #3 Victory Honda is in their pool of five teams and the draw has not been favorable.  The Magicians play the Soo Indians in a 9:45 AM game Friday morning and Victory Honda at 3:10 PM.  They should beat the Soo team, but will be hard pressed to beat Victory Honda in the afternoon game.  Saturday, the Magicians U18 team plays MI Hockey Advancement and the Chicago Young Americans.  The top team in each of the four pools advance to the championship round Sunday morning; the second team in each pool plays in the consolation round.  The Magicians (7-2) are on a seven game winning streak. 

Magician U18 Chase Gackle/Prior Lake puts Jack Graveline's (#21) shot back into the net in third period to cut the Washington Jr. Caps lead to 3-2. The Magicians went on to win 4-3 in a shootout.

The Magicians U18 team had a tough trip to Iowa.  Playing in the Buck Classic in Des Moines, the Magicians went 2-2 and lost two of their top players to injury.  That did not slow them down this past weekend at the NAHL Showcase.  They won all five games beating the Rocky Mountain Roughriders 2-1, the Arizona Bobcats 6-1, the St. Louis Selects 3-2, the Pursuit of Excellance 4-3, and the Washington Little Capitals 4-3.  The last two games were come from behind shootout wins.

The Magicians skated four offensive lines at the Showcase last week and it paid off with wins in the third period.  One Magician line had Eric Otto centering senior Zach Buesgens/Chanhassen and Otto’s Burnsville teammate Jake Thomas.  Otto with Thomas combined for 33 points/19 goals in 25 games last season for the Blaze.  With the Blazes last season’s scoring leader Jack Ahcan playing in the USHL this season, the two along with UMHSEL TCF Banker Cade Borchardt, will form the core of the Blaze offense next season.  A second Magician line is centered by Kennedy’s Jory McWilliams with wings Sasha Choporov/Woodbury and Zac Rodeheffer/Chaska.  McWilliams led Kennedy in scoring last season and has posted 56 points/24 goals in 50 regular season games.  Jory has also been a top scorer in the Red/Black league.  Choporov is a top scorer at Woodbury and plays a hard game.  Rodeheffer, who captained the Hawks last season, will likely be one of the top two Chaska scorers this coming season. 

Magician Garret Jagoe (#26) celebrates Ben Bjerken/Chaska after tying the game with POE 3-3.

The third Magician line is centered by Chase Gackle/Prior Lake with Tucker Bjorlin/STMA and Jack Graveline/St. Thomas Academy at wings.  Gackle was a top scorer for the Lakers last season; Bjorlin is a hard playing wing with size and Graveline with his speed is likely to be among the Cadets offensive forwards this season.  The fourth line is centered by Garret Jagoe/Rosemount with Tanner Burggraaff/Prior Lake and Ben Bjerken/Chaska at wings.  Jagoe line had some good shifts against the Pursuit of Excellence team last Sunday at the NAHL Showcase. 

The Magicians U18 defensive corps is led by seniors Marshall Bjorlin/St. Michael-Albertville and Nolan Sawchuk/Burnsville.  The 6’4” Bjorlin can move the puck effectively in the offensive zone.  Both Bjorlin and Sawchuk can score.  Justin Fossand/Chanhassen sets up well on the point.  Seniors Jared Gherardl/Benilde-St. Margaret’s and Justin Fossand/Chanhassen will find the open player for the shot.    Seniors Charlie Weiand/Rosemount and junior Ryan Murray/Prior Lake complete the defensive corps.  Weiand has played the last two seasons on the Irish defense.  At goaltender, the Magicians have Trevor Rowe/Waconia and Jon Kallestad/Blaine.  Rowe split time last season playing for the Wildcats varsity.  Kallestad posted a 12-2-1 record playing for Blaine’s state tourney team last season.  He gave up an average of 2.2 goals a game while stopping 92% of the shots on goal.

Burnsville's Eric Otto scores to tie the game with the Washington Jr. Capitals 3-3

Saturday’s 4-3 shootout win

After winning their first two games at the NAHL Showcase, the Magicians ran into a buzz saw in the second period of their game against the Washington Jr. Capitals.  After dominating in the first period (outshooting the Caps 12-4), the Magicians struggled against Washington in the second period.  The Capitals played a fast up tempo game building a 3-1 lead at the end of the second period but then tired going into the third period.  The Caps were skating three lines and in the second period, took a number of penalties to further shorten their bench.  When the third period opened the Caps offense slowed and their defense was slower responding to the movement of the puck.  They started to make mistakes leaving gaps and allowing more shots to get to the net early in the third period.  The Magicians scored twice in the first three minutes to tie the game.  After that, the Caps goalie Alex Chen/Potomac MD stood tall making some tough stopping 16 Magician shots (YHH count) in the last 14 minutes of play to force the shootout.

The Caps Alec Guarnero scored seven minutes into the opening period to take a 1-0 lead.  Thirty seconds later, the Magicians’ Burnsville duo of Otto and Thomas combined to tie the game 1-1.  Otto got the goal and Thomas the assist.  Washington scored twice early in the second period with Guarnero and Ryan Leibold each getting a goal to take a 3-1 lead into the third period.  Early in the third period, Minnesota came back to tie the game.  With two minutes gone in the third, the Magicians scored to cut the lead to 3-2.  The play leading to their second goal started with the Magicians controlling the puck in the Caps’ zone on an elongated attack.  The result was a hard shot on Chen that ended with the puck rebounding into the slot to Jack Graveline/St. Thomas Academy.  Graveling one-timed the puck at Chen.  His shot was stopped by Chen with the puck rolling in front of the goalie.  Graveling went at the loose puck and banged it towards the goalie’s left and then Graveling went flying to the ice off a check.  The puck ended up in Chase Gackle’s area on the left side of the crease.  Gackle held his ground pulling the puck away from Chen and buried the puck into the open net.  A minute later, the Magicians’ Otto beat the defense on the left side, cut to the right and beat Chen to tie the game 3-3 and set up a five player shootout.

Both goalies Chen and the Magicians’ goalie Jon Kallestad played tough in the shootout forcing it to a nine players before the Magicians could break the tie.  Jack Graveline got the first Magician shootout goal beating Chen with a hard shot from the slot.  Magician Jared Gherardi/Rosemount scored the second shootout goal. Skating down the right slot, Gherardi made a quick move left and fired beating Chen with a high hard shot.  McWilliams got the game winning with a similar shot only McWilliams shifted to the left crossing the blue line left into the left faceoff circle.  He buried a hard shot mid-net on the right side to win the game 4-3.  The Magicians won their third game of the NAHL Showcase.

Magician U18 Jared Gherardi scores the first shootout goal against the Washington Jr. Capitals in the Magicians 4-3 OT win.

Magician U18 Jory McWilliams scores the winning shootout goal in the Magician win over the Washington Jr. Capitials

Magician U18 Jory McWilliams scores against the POE goalie Tanner Marshall in Sunday's game.

Sunday’s 4-3 shootout win

After winning Saturday’s second game, the Magicians played the Pursuit of Excellence, a Western Canadian Prep team that plays in the NAPHL.  The POE team hails from Kelowna BC.  In Sunday’s game the Magicians controlled the play for most of the first half against the Pursuit of Excellence.  POE played a tough physical checking game, but the Magician forwards were able to consistently beat the POE defense and set up inside the POE zone.  The Magic Men had multiple shots at the net, but few found their way through a collapsing POE defense.  Minnesota scored five minutes into the period when Eric Otto swept the right of the defense carrying the puck into the POE zone.  Otto cut to the nets and took a short shot that rebounded left to Otto’s stick on the right side.  He rapped the puck into the net for the goal and 1-0 Magician’s lead.  Zach Buesgens got the assist.  

Late in the first period, the refs drew the ire of the Magician fans.  A hard shot by a Magician forward breaking down the slot went into the net and bounced immediately out of the POE net.  It was a goal.  The ref missed the goal, but two minutes later, POE put a similar shot on the goal and the refs initially called no goal.  After a timeout, POE was given the score to tie the game 1-1.  The first period ended in a 1-1 tie.

In the first minute of the second period, a POE defenseman made an off speed pass to the left side.  Magician Jory McWilliams picked off the pass moving toward the top of the crease.  He beat the left defense and drove across the top of the crease beating a back checking forward to get the shot off.  McWilliams’ shot beat POE goalie Tanner Marshall low right for the score to put the Magicians up 2-1.  POE, using a tough defense, to stop and turn the puck came back with two second period goals to take a 3-2 lead into the third period.

A soft pass by the Magician defense in the Minnesota zone in the opening set up POE’s second score.  Juanre Naude/Kelowna BC was the opportunist picking off the pass and turning to the Magician goal and scoring.  The unassisted goal tied the game 2-2.  Three minutes later, POE’s Adam Kusior scored to put POE up 3-2 going into the third period.

The third period opened with POE on the penalty kill.  POE killed the penalty and then had to kill two more.  The POE forwards were starting to tire and their defense continued to pack the space in front of the POE goal blocking numerous shot attempts by the Magicians.  When a Magician shot beat the defense, the POE goalie made the stop.  Still leading 3-2 with nine minutes left in the period, a simple Magician play tied the game.  The play started when the Magicians gained control of the puck in the POE zone and moved it around the perimeter.  A the puck ended up on Garret Jagoe’s stick at the top of the left faceoff circle.  Jagoe one-timed the puck into the upper right corner beating POE goalie Marshall to send the game into a shootout, tied 3-3 at the end of regulation.

Two Magicians put the puck in the back of the net on the five player shootout.  Thomas beat the POE goalie in the Magicians second shootout attempt getting him slightly down going right and lifting the puck over the goalie’s left side.  Otto scored the game winner with the third shootout attempt beating Marshall with a hard shot from the slot just to the right of the goalie.  The Magicians won 4-3 to go unbeaten at the NAHL Showcase.

Magician Jake Thomas/Burnsville flips the puck over POE goalie Tanner Marshall to score the first shootout goal.

Magician Eric Otto/Burnsville buries this shot beating POE Tanner Marshall on the right side in the game winning shootout goal.