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Edina knocks out Blaze

02/29/2012, 11:20pm CST
By Star Tribune and MN Hockey Hub staff

Hornets earn sixth straight state tournament berth with victory over Burnsville


Edina's Matt Nelson, center, grabs the puck from a sprawling Jake Senta of Burnsville as Hornets freshman Dylan Malmquist (20) joins the play. Photo by Helen Nelson

Edina scored two third-period goals in 33 seconds.
 
Excitement turned to euphoria.
 
State tournament, here we come!
 
Nick Leer was on the bench and in the middle of the Hornets’ impromptu mosh pit ignited by sophomore Connor Hurley’s goal, the follow up to the one scored by Miguel Fidler, who is also a sophomore.
 
Leer, the only Edina senior to play in the Section 2AA championship against Burnsville, loves his youthful teammates’ passion. But sometimes the Hornets’ Kiddie Corps requires a stern voice and steadying hand.
 
“Every day they come to practice and they are ready to work their butts off,” Leer said. “I just love it. Sometimes they get a little out of control, and I just have to tell them, ‘Hey, stay even-keeled.' "
 
One of those out-of-control teaching moments presented itself in the third period against the Blaze. 
 
Although Edina eventually scored an empty net goal to win 6-3 on Wednesday, Feb. 29, at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis and clinch a sixth straight berth in the state Class 2A tournament, the Hornets were leading 5-3 with just more than 5 minutes remaining when Leer felt compelled to curb the enthusiasm.
 
“I said, ‘Hey, there’s plenty of time left, weirder things have happened. Just stay calm,’ ” Leer said.

Edina's Miguel Fidler, left, jostles for position with Burnsville defenseman Daniel Ames in front of the Blaze net. Photo by Helen Nelson

Fidler, who scored what proved to be the game winner with 5 minutes, 49 seconds remaining, said he appreciates Leer’s leadership. If Leer has something to say, Fidler, for one, is willing to listen.
 
“When someone needs to keep us in line, I would say that would be Nick Leer, our captain,” Fidler said. “He’s a really good captain.”
 
Leer is a pretty good hockey player, too. He assisted on linemate Louie Nanne’s first-period goal that gave the Hornets a 3-1 lead. Leer  was one the lone senior skater (goaltender Connor Beaupre is Edina’s other senior) to survive the tryouts in late November.
 
Leer, along with juniors Lou Nanne and Parker Reno, are among several Hornets who played in the state tournament last season. They are part of an interesting mix of Edina players that meshes freshmen and sophomores with a talented crop of juniors.
 
“For these guys, I just say, ‘Enjoy it,’ ” Leer said. “This is going to be an awesome week. There's is nothing better than playing in the state tournament.”

-- Loren Nelson, MN Hockey Hub editor


Edina players celebrate thier 6-3 victory over Burnsville at the Mariucci Arena. Photo by Helen Nelson

Statistics, Summary

Game Recap

Just one senior graced the ice for Edina during Wednesday’s Section 2AA championship game at Mariucci Arena.
 
But the Hornets responded with veteran poise after Burnsville’s Cory Chapman tied the game less than five minutes into the third period.
 
Goals scored 33 seconds apart by Miguel Fidler and Connor Hurley provided No. 1 seed and No. 4-ranked Edina (23-5-0) the necessary cushion to ensure a sixth consecutive trip to the state tournament.
 
“That’s what funny about these kids, they don’t give you the feeling like they’re panicking,” Edina coach Curt Giles said. “They just work hard to make good things happen.”
 
Jake Maxson got No. 2 seed Burnsville (17-10-1) off to a fast start with a goal just 50 seconds into the game. But Edina got the next three goals from Hurley and the Nanne brothers, Tyler and Louie.
 
Edina topped Burnsville in the section playoffs for the third time in the past five seasons.
 
-- David La Vaque, Star Tribune staff writer

Edina's Connor Hurley (16) skates for the bench after scoring a goal against Burnsville. Photo by Helen Nelson

The jet-fueled sophomore scored twice, blowing around a Burnsville defenseman and going five-hole on a gorgeous play for the first goal in the first period. Hurley’s second goal was less striking but equally important, as it came just 33 seconds after Miguel Fidler had scored to put the Hornets ahead 4-3 in the third period. 
 
Fidler, one of six sophomores on the Hornets’ roster, scored the biggest goal of his career in the biggest game of his life, netting the winner with 5:14 remaining after linemate Anthony Walsh provided much of the grunt work by digging the puck out behind the goal
 
The sophomore center scored a third-period goal as the Blaze rallied from a two-goal deficit to tie the score at 3. He also had an assist and won 15 of 23 faceoffs.
 
-- Loren Nelson, MN Hockey Hub editor

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

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