Sprawling Elk River goaltender Mac Berglove watches the puck sail wide as teammate Blake Hillman dives over the stick of Edina's Andy Jordahl. Photo by Loren Nelson
A three-goal win may appear on the surface to be a convincing win.
Add in a 30-16 shot advantage to back it up.
No. 1-ranked Edina's 4-1 win against Elk River on Friday, Dec. 21 at Braemar Arena in Edina was not all smooth sailing.
The Elks matched up with Edina in the physicality department.
They did not shy away from the big hits in the game and were not dejected once the Hornets made it a 2-0 lead in the second period.
"That was a hard game for us, probably one of the tougher ones we have played so far," Edina forward Bo Brauer said."They played physical, which did not cause troubles for us, just maybe slowed us down a little bit."
Tyler Nanne and Cullen Munson each scored in the second for Edina after a scoreless first period.
The middle period proved to be much different for the Hornets compared to the first, where Elk River matched them set for step.
Nearly all of the offensive zone presence came from Edina pouring it on the Elks.
"Coach (Curt Giles) gave us a little pep talk and we came out played much better," Munson said. "We needed something like that to get us going"
"We just told ourselves that this is not how we do it here," Hornets' forward Bo Brauer said. "We came out in the second and just played better hockey."
Taking a two-goal lead into the third would still be no guaranteed win.
Elk River did not roll over and let the Hornets walk over it.
Wyatt Ege pulled the Elks within one on a power play goal from point.
"That was good to get that one early, but I think we all wanted to have that come a little earlier in the game and take the crowd out," Elk River coach Gordie Roberts said. "I know Curt has his team always ready to go, so getting one early here will really help."
Elk River was one of the few teams to test Edina in the early portion of the season.
A mix of physicality and skill, Giles said the Elks are a team to watch out for.
"From playing against them and seeing Grand Rapids the day before, I think this is a team that can make a run at sections," Giles said. "This was one of the hardest games of the year and they had a lot to do with that."
No. 1-ranked Edina defeated Elk River 4-1 on Friday, Dec. 21 in the second night of the Edina Holiday Classic at Braemar Ice Arena in Edina.
After a scoreless first period the Hornets scored twice in the second on goals from Tyler Nanne and Cullen Munson.
In the third, Elk River pulled within one on a power play goal by Wyatt Ege that found the back of the net through a screen in front of Hornets goalie Willie Benjamin.
Edina's Dylan Malmquist and Miguel Fidler scored in the final minutes of thea third.
MacLean Berglove finished with 27 saves for Elk River and Benjamin made 15 saves in goal for the Hornets.
Edina improves to 8-0-0 while Elk River drops to 5-3-0.
Both teams will play their final games of the Edina Holiday Classic on Saturday, Dec. 22 at the Braemar Ice Arena.
The Elks will play Grand Rapids, a Section 7AA opponent, in the first game.
Edina will play its Lake Conference rival Eden Prairie in the finale.
1. Tyler Nanne, Edina
Nanne got the Hornets on the board with a big power-play goal early in the second period after a scoreless first. He also assisted on Dylan Malmquist's empty net goal, which sealed the win.
3. Wyatt Ege, Elk River
Having to slow down the offensive power of Edina, Ege led the way for the Elks' defense. He also chipped in offensively with a power play goal in the third, which pulled Elk River to within one goal.