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Rothstein pilots Skippers

By Loren Nelson, MN Hockey Hub editor, 02/04/12, 10:00PM CST

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Senior completes his hat trick in overtime as No. 2 Minnetonka outlasts No. 5 Edina


Minnetonka's Sam Rothstein, right, skates through an opening between Edina's Dylan Malmquist (20) and Nick Leer (18). Photo by Helen Nelson

Rule No. 1 in hockey: You can’t score without a stick.
 
Minnetonka’s Sam Rothstein is a smart player. He knows this, but somehow he managed to lose his all-important piece of equipment during the first period of the No. 2-ranked Skippers’ Lake Conference showdown with No. 5 Edina.
 
There was a collision along the boards, and after that everything turns fuzzy for the Minnetonka senior forward.
 
“I got hit and I was looking around for it on the ice,” Rothstein said about his missing stick. “Then I thought the (Edina player) had it. I didn’t really know what happened. 
 
“I ended up just skating back to the bench.”
 
Rothstein’s stick, which had flown over the Plexiglass and into the bleachers, eventually was returned in time for him to have the game of his career.
 
Know more as a playmaker than a sniper, Rothstein capped a three-goal night by scoring 42 seconds into overtime as the Skippers skated to a 5-4 victory on Saturday, Feb. 4, in front of a near-capacity crowd at estimated at 2,700 at Braemar Arena.
 
“It’s a lot of fun with all the people and the student sections going,” Rothstein said about playing in one of the state’s largest and most historic venues. “It’s a pretty good time. 
 
“I’m going to remember this for probably the rest of my life.”

Minnetonka's Sam Rothstein (23) took a break from scoring goals to take the body on an Edina player. Photo by Helen Nelson

The hat trick was the first of Rothstein’s varsity career. A surprising fact, given that he has been a main cog in the Skippers’ offense for each of the past two seasons. 
 
“He doesn’t shoot enough,” Minnetonka coach Brian Urick said with a grin. “That’s why he doesn’t have hat tricks.”
 
Unselfish to a fault, Rothstein, the son of former Grand Rapids and University of Minnesota star Tom Rothstein, usually accumulates his points by feeding the puck to longtime linemate and scoring star Erik Baskin.
 
The uncanny chemistry between the two seniors has led to dozens of highlight-reel goals, including one in the second period with the teams each playing a man short. Baskin and Rothstein played an extended game of catch with the puck in the Hornets’ end, exchanging it enough times that Minnetonka fans in the bleachers were on their feet screaming, “Shoot!”
 
Finally, Rothstein did exactly that, whipping a shot past Edina goalie Willie Benjamin to tie the score at 2.
 
“It was four on four, so we know there is a lot of ice out there,” Baskin said. “We look to make a play. Somebody is usually going to be open. 
 
“He made a great drop pass, and I just tried to get it to him.”
 
In a reversal of roles, Baskin has of late been playing the setup man for Rothstein, who has six goals in his last three games.
 
“He was really hot tonight, and we were just trying to get it to him,” said Baskin, who scored a goal and assisted on all three of Rothstein’s goals. “When a guy is shooting well like he is we are just trying to get it to him any way we can.”
 
In overtime Rothstein found an opening in the slot and wasted little time in finding another one behind Benjamin. His goal avenged a 3-2 loss to the Hornets earlier in the season at the Pagel Activity Center.
 
“They controlled it down low, and we thought we had our guys back and in good position,” Edina coach Curt Giles said. “But obviously not, because (Rothstein) was pretty open.
 
“He made a good shot. And he got in a good position to make the shot.”

Minnetonka senior Sam Rothstein celebrates his overtime goal in the Skippers' 5-4 victory over Edina. Photo by Helen Nelson

Experience trumps youth in scoring showdown

Score one for the old guys.
 
Minnetonka seniors Erik Baskin and Sam Rothstein outdueled Edina’s “Kid Line” featuring freshman Dylan Malmquist and sophomore Connor Hurley on Saturday in the Lake Conference showdown.
 
But just barely.
 
It took a hat trick by Rothstein and goal and three assists from Baskin for the Skippers to overcome two goals by Malmquist and one by Hurley in showdown of two of the state’s most potent scoring lines.

Edina freshman Dylan Malmquist, left, collides with Minnetonka junior Max Coatta. Photo by Helen Nelson

“Is Malmquist a freshman?” Baskin said about the forward who leads the Hornets with 21 goals and whose 37 points ranks second behind Hurley’s 42. “The future is bright for them, that’s for sure.
 
 “Those guys were great. It was fun to play against them.”
 
The two lines weren’t matched up much through the first two periods, but in the third they were on the ice together often. Both lines started the overtime period.
 
In the end, Baskin’s puck control along the boards and Rothstein’s finishing touch gave Minnetonka the edge.
 
“(Baskin) was pretty dominant tonight,” Minnetonka coach Brian Urick said. “They couldn’t take the puck away from him on the wall. He made a great play on that last goal. He was really good all night. 
 
“That line, that’s the best I’ve seen them play.”
 
Rothstein, Baskin and linemate Connor Thie were on the ice for all five Minnetonka goals. Hurley, Malmquist and linemate Andy Jordahl were on the ice for three of the four Hornets’ goals. Neither coach was bothered by the unbalanced scoring.
 
“We’ve got a couple of kids (Hurley and Malmquist) that have scored a bunch of goals for us, but our other two lines are getting great opportunities,” Edina coach Curt Giles said. “They are getting good scoring chances, quality chances. I would be a little more concerned if they weren’t getting good quality looks and chances. 
 
“Hopefully at some time something has got to go.”

Statistics, Summary

Game Recap


Sam Rothstein

Senior forward Sam Rothstein completed his hat trick by scoring 42 seconds into overtime as No. 2-ranked Minnetonka beat No. 5 Edina 5-4 on Saturday, Feb. 4, at Braemar Arena at Edina.
 
Rothstein’s three-goal performance was the first of his varsity career, and he and linemates Erik Baskin and Connor Thie were on the ice for all five Skippers’ goals.
 
Senior defenseman Michael Prochno’s goal with 7:33 left in the third period put Minnetonka (18-3-0) ahead 4-2. 
 
Edina (17-4-0) was far from finished, however, as goals by linemates Dylan Malmquist and Connor Hurley forced the overtime session.
 
Malmquist scored with 6:54 remaining on a feed from Andy Jordahl, and Hurley sent the game into overtime with a goal with 1:40 left.
 
Minnetonka had defeated Edina 6-0 during the holiday tournament season, and the Hornets has returned the favor by beating the Skippers 3-2 on Jan. 19 at the Pagel Activity Center in Minnetonka.
 
Baskin scored the only goal of the first period. Edina took its only lead in the second period at 2-1 on goals by Malmquist and defenseman Matt Nelson. Rothstein tied it at 2 late in the third period when, with the teams playing 4-on-4, he and Baskin made a series of passes in the Hornets’ end that resulted in a clear shot.
 
Minnetonka junior Paul Ciaccio made 22 saves to earn the victory. Edina’s Willie Benjamin also made 22 saves. 
 
Each team was called for a 5-minute major penalty for boarding, but the calls came close enough together that much of the penalty time overlapped, resulting in an extended 4-on-4 in the second period. 

Minnetonka's Erik Baskin

As obvious a choice as there could be for this slot, all Rothstein did was score three goals and set up another. Oh, we did we mention that Rothstein’s third goal came in overtime? The only negative for the senior forward came early in the game when he collided with an Edina player and Rothstein’s stick flew over the glass and into the packed bleachers. Play on!
 
The senior forward played the faithful sidekick and setup man to longtime linemate Rothstein to perfection. Baskin, one of the biggest players on the ice, was so effective shielding the puck on the forecheck, Edina players eventually backed off and simply waited for him to move the puck rather than try to strip it from him. Baskin scored a goal and notched three assists.
 
Just a sophomore, Hurley played with the poise and control of a senior in what was the latest in a season full of dominating performances. He scored the late goal that sent the game into overtime, but his best play might have been a brilliant pass to freshman linemate Dylan Malmquist on a second-period 2-on-1.

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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