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Blaze overwhelm Prior Lake

By Loren Nelson, MN Hockey Hub editor, 02/02/12, 12:43AM CST

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Burnsville dominates Lakers for second time this season, improves Section 2AA credentials


Burnsville senior defenseman Jake Maxson scored a goal and had two assists in the Blaze's victory over Prior Lake. Photo by Helen Nelson

Jake Maxson doesn’t play the kind of game that transfers neatly onto a scoresheet.
 
Making smart decisions, firing crisp breakout passes and clearing pucks and bodies from the front of the net aren’t the kind of recurring actions that are tracked, calculated and dissected.
 
That’s rotten luck for Maxson, the Burnsville senior defenseman who does all of those “little” things exceedingly well.
 
“He’s a solid defensive defenseman,” Burnsville coach Janne Kivihalme said. “He’s a got a real quick shot from the point.”
 
As an added bonus for the Blaze, Maxson will use that shot to chip in with a goal every now and then. In Burnsville’s 8-2 win over Prior Lake on Thursday, Feb. 2, Maxson was briefly credited with two goals before quickly setting the record straight.
 
“The last one they said was mine tipped off No. 12, Kyle Kauth,” Maxson said. “I’m a good guy, I’ll give him that goal.”
 
No need to get greedy. As long as Burnsville got the win over its Section 2AA rival, Maxson was happy.

Burnsville's Jake Maxson crashes into Prior Lake's Jeff Pieper. Photo by Helen Nelson

“It’s the battle of Savage,” Maxson said about the community that is divided by the Prior Lake and Burnsville school districts. “A lot of us know each other from other sports. 

“We know each other through school and other friends, so yeah, it has become a huge rivalry for us.”
 
The Blaze (12-8-1) have had difficulty time stringing together victories since reeling off five straight wins in early to mid-December. The second dominating win over the Lakers (Burnsville beat Prior Lake 8-3 on Dec. 22) might just kick start the Blaze as they close out the regular season.

For sure, the victory will give Burnsville a higher seed than Prior Lake (13-7-0) in a few weeks when the playoff brackets are built.

“It’s been tough finding a groove,” Maxson said. “We’ll have a couple of great games, and then we’ll have a bad game. It’s been tough for us to stay consistent, and that’s our big motto right now to stay consistent. 
 
“Hopefully we can build off this big win.”
 
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Maxson threaded a low shot through heavy traffic in the second period to put the Blaze ahead 4-2. It could hardly be described as a pretty goal.
 
Maxson hit the rewind button in the third when he threaded another shot on goal. Only this time Kauth got a piece of the puck before it found the back of the net.
 
“Playing simple,” Maxson said. “One of the biggest problems we’ve had is not playing smart, not doing the things the coaches tell us to do every day at practice. Today I think playing simple helped out a lot. 
 
“We established a forecheck and got a lot of shots on net.”

Jake Maxson of Burnsville celebrates a Blaze goal. Photo by Helen Nelson

This rivalry under the radar -- for now

Prior Lake and Burnsville don’t have the sort of rivalry that packs arenas and attracts a platoon of television cameras and assorted other media types.
 
Not yet anyway.
 
With Prior Lake’s rapid rise from doormat to state tournament contender, the intensity level between the South Suburban Conference neighbors has been ratcheted up beyond normal levels.
 
“I think it is growing into rivalry,” Prior Lake coach Joe Pankratz said. “Playing (youth hockey) in District 6, they all play against each other growing up. 
 
“It gets pretty intense during the game.”
 
Including Thursday night’s 8-2 victory, Burnsville won the two regular season meetings between the teams this season by a combined score of 16-5. Typically, the state’s best rivalries have a tradition of close games and unpredictable outcomes.
 
This rivalry hasn’t gotten to that point.
 
Not yet, anyway.
 
“Whatever seed we get in the sections, we’re hoping to play these guys again,” Pankratz said. “Our guys are confident, but I don’t know, there’s something in their head with Burnsville. 
 
“Whatever it is, we have had not had success against them the last two years at all.”
 
Burnsville defenseman Jake Maxson said he wouldn’t mind another matchup with Prior Lake.
 
“There is a great chance that we’ll play them (in the postseason),” Maxson said. “We’d love to play them again, they are a great team.”

Statistics, Summary

Game Recap

Sophomore Tyler Sheehy scored two goals, and senior Hunter Anderson had a goal and three assists as Burnsville routed Prior Lake 8-2 on Thursday, Feb. 2, at Burnsville Ice Center in a matchup of South Suburban Conference and Section 2AA rivals that could serve as a preview to a rematch in the upcoming postseason.
 
Sheehy scored twice in the first period as Burnsville (12-8-1) took a 3-1 lead. 
 
Prior Lake (13-7-0) closed to 3-2 early in the second period on a goal on a nifty solo rush around a Burnsville defenseman by senior Kyle Krueger, but the Blaze finished the period with three unanswered goals to take a 6-2 lead into the third.
 
Anderson, Jake Maxson and Tanner Barnes scored goals in the second period for the Blaze, who unloaded 21 shots on Prior Lake goaltender Kyle Miller in the period.
 
Kyle Kauth and Teemu Kivihalme scored in the third period for Burnsville, which defeated Prior Lake 8-3 on Dec. 22 and with the regular season sweep assured itself of a higher seed than the Lakers in the section playoffs. 
 
Miller, a senior, finished with 38 saves. Burnsville goaltender Chris Mallon made 26 saves and faced just four shots in the third period.
 
Gavin Smith scored in the opening minute to give Prior Lake a 1-0 lead. 
 
Cory Chapman and Maxon each had a goal and two assists for Burnsville.
Much of Burnsville’s offense was initiated by the Blaze defensemen’s ability to move the puck out of the defensive zone with crisp passes, and almost all of Maxson’s passes hit the bulls-eye. The hard-hitting 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior also scored a goal on a shot from the point and added two assists.
 
Sheehy’s speed was too much for the Lakers to handle on numerous occasions and in a variety of situations. The sophomore scored one of his goals on a dizzying rush, and as a penalty killer he gave Prior Lake all sorts of headaches with his tenacious play. Sheehy finished with two goals and was the only Blaze player with a multi-goal performance.
 
A senior forward, Krueger generated several of the Lakers’ best scoring chances, but he earns a star for scoring what was easily the prettiest goal of the night. He put a slick move on a Burnsville defenseman at the blue line, then ripped a shot past Blaze goaltender Chris Mallon.

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Micah Miller leaps to the fans after scoring the game winner.

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Moorhead's Jack Stetz (21) throws his arms up as he and his teammates celebrated the win. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@startribune.com