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Southwest celebrates sweet 16

By MN Hockey Hub staff, 09/10/11, 5:30PM CDT

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Edina's Ben Walker one of three players to register hat tricks in 16-2 rout of Manitoba


Minnetonka's Max Coatta was one of three players to register hat tricks for Team Southwest against Manitoba. Photo by Helen Nelson, MN Hockey Hub

Ben Walker was the only Edina player on Team North in the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League during the 2010 season.

This year, Walker is closer to home playing for Team Southwest. Still, he finds himself as something of an outsider.

On Saturday, Sept. 10, Walker found himself on a line with four players from Lake Conference rival-Minnetonka: forwards Eric Baskin and Sam Rothstein and defensemen Joe Schuldt and Jimmy Schuldt.

The ‘rivalry line’ showed no signs of friction as the five players combined for 15 points (5 goals, 10 assists) as Team Southwest coasted to a 16-2 victory over Manitoba.


Ben Walker

On paper, the line seems to be one with heavy chemistry, but Walker pointed out the Minnetonka-Edina tension is still there.

“It's a little weird, especially with the rivalry since sophomore year, but it's alright,” Walker said. “I've known them since squirts, but it's a little different to be playing with them instead of against them.”

It’s hard to argue with the offensive production the Minnetonka players offer.

“They move the puck well, and they're really smart players,” Walker said of his linemates.

Max Coatta, who plays on a line with Vinni Lettieri from Minnetonka and Louie Nanne from Edina (Lettieri and Nanne are cousins), noted the rivals make it work on Team Southwest.

“We all get a long pretty well out there,” Coatta said. “We all know each other from summer hockey, so it's not too weird.”

That said, Coatta knows how important this experience can be for Minnetonka and his fellow Skippers.

“We have seven guys playing in (the Elite League) this year and we have a lot of returners coming back from our team last year,” Coatta said. “So this should be good for our team.”

For now, Edina and Minnetonka players will work together on Team Southwest with high hopes and expectations to continue its hot start.

“Definitely excited to get going,” Coatta said. “It was fun to get back into it.”

-- Michael Murakami, MN Hockey Hub staff

Statistics, Summary

Game Recap

Ben Walker, Max Coatta and Conor Andrle each registered a hat trick and Team Southwest notched a total of 40 points in its 16-2 Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League rout of Manitoba on Saturday, Sept. 10, at New Hope Ice Arena in New Hope.

It didn't take long for Team Southwest to put the game out of reach as Walker's goal at the 9:12 mark in the first period proved to be the game-winner.

It was a busy day for Manitoba's netminder who faced 67 shots on goal.

Justin Quale made 17 saves for Team Southwest.

Manitoba faces Team Northwest at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, and caps off its weekend against Team Wisconsin at 12:30 p.m.

Team Southwest will play Team Northeast at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, as well as Team Southeast at noon on Sunday, Sept. 11. Both games will be played at New Hope Ice Arena.

-- Michael Murakami, MN Hockey Hub staff

1.  Erik Baskin, Team Southwest
Baskin has a monster day that echoed his team's offensive explosion. Minnetonka's senior forward was a noticeable presence at both ends of the ice but particularly in the Manitoba zone where Baskin scored 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists).

2. 
Ben Walker, Team Southwest
The Edina senior forward was the first to hit the three-goal mark for Team Southwest with his second goal of the game being the technical game-winning goal. Walker showed he didn't lose any of his speed during the offseason.

3.  Max Coatta, Team Southwest
One of three players who scored a hat trick, Coatta -- a junior forward from Minnetonka -- also contributed an assist.

-- Michael Murakami, MN Hockey Hub staff

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