The trio of Marshall Everson, Connor Gaarder, and Anders Lee combined for 7 goals and a combined 14 points to lead the Edina Hornets past the Blaine Bengals in non conference action Friday night at Braemar Arena.
The #4 Hornets (8-1-0) were a step quicker than the Bengals (8-1-0). Led by the “big line”, Edina worked offensive zone with vigor. There was no answer to the size and strength of the top Hornet line that was led by Everson’s hat trick. At the expense of the Bengals, the Hornet trio looked in-sync for the first time all season.
Whether it was a crisp two pass transition out of the zone, a face off, or a dominating shift in the offensive zone, the Hornets dictated the tempo much of the evening. Blaine fought back each time the Hornets extended their lead and played hard to the final horn, proving that they will not back down from any challenge.
Anders Lee got things going early with his 9th goal at 2:48 of the first period as he worked a nifty give and go to the net with Everson. Everson then tallied for the 2-0 lead on the power play. He was camped in his usual spot off the side of the goal and had one place to deposit the puck and it was high over the prone Blaine goalie, Danny Harper. He tucked it neatly in the shelf over Harper’s shoulder for the 2-0 lead mid way through the first period.
Blaine’s Luke Bayer had an effective night in all aspects of the game and was the leader offensively as well for his team. He pulled his team to 2-1. As the Bengals were struggling to gain the offensive zone on the game’s first power play. They broke through with :14 left in the mad advantage as Bayer gathered in a rebound and beat Edina Goalie Johnny Ankeny to the glove.
Everson scored his second of the game and Gaarder tallied as well as he sniped high on the blocker hand side to Harper for the 4-1 at the end of two periods. The Bengals had only allowed 8 goals in 8 games entering the contest while the Hornets had only allowed 15 in as many games.
By the time the third period was over, the stingy defensive numbers could be tossed out the window as the Hornets 8 goals doubled up the Bengals season for goals allowed. The Bengals also managed to light the lamp 4 times on Edina.
Lee scored an unassisted goal as he never gave up on a partial breakaway that broke down on him. He ended up carrying the puck through behind the net and worked until Harper was beat. His 2nd of the game and 10th of the season came at the :19 mark of the third period.
Not to be outdone, Ryan Brockway scored his 3rd just seconds later from an odd angle to the right of Ankeny to pull the Bengals to 5-2. Gaarder scored again on a tic-tac-toe set up for the tap in from Lee and Everson. Luke Bayer stepped in the fray again to hammer home a rebound goal form the low slot for the 5-3 deficit and the Hornets started gripping the sticks a little tighter.
There was no reason to panic for the Hornet Nation as Everson notched the hat trick from his two line-mates to extend the lead to 6-3. Steven Fogarty scored his 2nd of the season on a nice feed from Michael Sit. The Hornets were cruising at 8-3 and it was Bayer again for the hat trick and his 8th of the season for the final 8-4 margin.
It was a game that defied logic as both teams had impressive defensive numbers and play with confidence and passion. Edina proved to be too deep and physically strong for the Bengals on Friday night.
Blaine will take on the Cloquet Esko-Carlton Lumberjacks on January 2nd. Edina begins Gold Division play of the Schwan Cup this Monday with the #9 Moorhead Spuds.
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