Minnesota Red celebrates a goal during its 9-0 victory over Norway on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Bauer NIT at New Hope Ice Arena. Photo by Katherine Matthews
Minnesota Red defenseman Teemu Kivihalme, a Burnsville junior, scored a goal in Friday's 9-0 rout of Norway. Photo by Katherine Matthews
Tyler Sheehy has been playing some of his best hockey over the last three weeks. So has Teemu Kivihalme.
Probably not. The Burnsville juniors have been playing hockey together going back to their days as knee-high mites. On the ice, off the ice, the two aren’t inseparable, but close enough to earn a fitting nickname.
“TNT,” Sheehy said. “His dad started that.”
Kivihalme’s father, Janne, not only authored the nickname but also happens to be the head coach of the Burnsville boys’ hockey team. That’s good fortune, because Burnsville’s Tyler and Teemu combo has “exploded” in recent weeks against top state and international competition.
Sheehy and Kivihalme finished the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League season as dominant players on a Team Southeast squad the made a surprising run to the league’s playoff championship game. Both were selected to play for Minnesota Red in the Bauer National Invitational Tournament.
On Friday, Nov. 2, Sheehy and Kivihalme again were playing their roles to perfection in a 9-0 rout of Norway’s Under-18 national team.
Sheehy, the speedy forward with a sniper’s aim, scored twice and had two assists; Kivihalme, the puck-rushing defenseman with more moves than a chess champion, also scored a rewind-worthy goal.
Because they play different positions, there’s no guarantee Sheehy and Kivihalme will be on the ice during a given shift. But when they are out together, they have no trouble spotting each other. Old habits.
“There’s a lot of chemistry, I think,” said Sheehy, who led Team Southeast in goals with 11 and assists with 12 during the 20-game regular season. He also scored four goals in three playoff games. “We always try to find a way to find each other.”
Sheehy scored a breakaway goal in the second period, blazing past a Norway defenseman at center ice and then ripping a shot over Norway goaltender Sander Berg’s catching glove.
Sheehy on a breakaway is a common sight for Kivihalme. Still, the defenseman wasn’t sure of Sheehy’s strategy.
“He is so fast,” Kivihalme said. “He is definitely a sniper. I only knew he would score.”
A Sheehy pass set up Kivihalme for another second-period goal. By then the blowout was well underway.
“I just went into an open area and he just did a nice sauce over to me,” Kivihalme said. “He created a play for me. It was a sick pass.”
With Sheehy and Kivihalme returning for another varsity season, Burnsville should rank among the state’s top Class 2A teams this season. The big roadblock, as it has been for years, likely will come in the playoffs. Edina has, after all, won six straight section championships.
“I think we will make a good run,” Sheehy said. “We are not as big as last year but we definitely have more speed. I think we’ll make a good run for it against Edina.”
Minnesota Red coaches Sean Toomey, left, and Pat Williams watch the action during Friday's 9-0 win over Norway. Photo by Katherine Matthews
Tyler Sheehy of Burnsville and Zach Glienke of Eagan each scored twice, and David Zevnik of St. Thomas Academy made 21 saves as Minnesota Red beat the Norway Under-18 national team 9-0 on Friday, Nov. 2, in the quarterfinals of the Bauer National Invitational Tournament at New Hope Ice Arena in New Hope.
Sheehy, a junior, scored on a breakaway early in the second period to put Minnesota Red ahead 4-0, and Daniel Labosky of Benilde-St. Margaret’s made it 5-0 just 12 seconds later.
Glienke scored to make it 3-0 midway through the second period, his goal coming just 19 seconds after Minnesota Red’s Matt Colford of Breck had scored.
Zevnik, who has won two state Class 1A championships, made 17 of his saves over the final two periods.
The game was originally scheduled to be played on New Hope’s North Rink, but was moved to the South Rink after a pane of glass behind the Minnesota Red goal shattered during warmups. The game started more than 30 minutes late.
Sheehy also had two assists. Bo Brauer of Edina finished with three assists, as did T.J. Roo of Totino-Grace.