Three Schwan Cup championship games highlight a quiet New Year’s day schedule as the Gold, Silver, and Bronze division championships will be determined today at Xcel Energy Center. The games can be seen on FSN.
The Gold and Silver division feature section foes playing for first place. First, the Edina Hornets (10-1-0) will face off with the Academy of Holy Angels Stars (5-1-1) as the Section 2AA teams will meet for the first time outside of sectional play in recent memory. They, along with Jefferson are viewed as the top dogs of the section and a win would provide an opportunity for a higher seed that is important to a run to the State Tournament.
Both teams boast a top line that is arguably the best in the State as the trio of Danny Mattson (7-15-22), Connor Reilly (7-14-21) and Ryan Reilly (6-3-9) has been terrific to start the season. Mattson is considered to be a finalist in many circles for Mr. Hockey and will be headed to North Dakota for his college career. John Haeg (7-10-17) also blends in well with Mattson and company and has shown versatility for coach Greg Trebil’s Stars. AHA’s only loss was to Culver Academy Prep by a score of 5-2. They rebounded with an impressive 3-2 win the following day.
The Stars qualified for the final with an opening round 5-2 win over St. Thomas Academy. They scored the game’s first four goals and cruised on to the victory. They skated to a 4-4 overtime tie with White Bear Lake and won in a shootout. Since it is an official High School game, shootouts are not a part of the regular or post season. Since the game ended in a tie, it goes in the books as an official tie. They Stars had a 3-1 evaporate as the Bears took them to the limit. The shootout propelled the Stars to the finals.
The Hornets have played a difficult schedule this season that has consisted of four top ten teams and the Stars can now be listed as the fifth. Edina works its big three every evening and they may arguably boast the best line in Anders Lee (9-16-25), Marshall Everson (13-10-23), and Connor Gaarder (9-12-21) have delivered when coach Curt Giles Hornets have needed it. Michael Sit (3-7-10) and Charlie Taft (5-3-8) are fourth and fifth on the Hornets and when combining their point totals they do not equal Gaarder’s 21.
The Hornets loss of Zach Budish turned them from two top lines to a team with one outstanding line. Day three of a tournament such as the Schwan Cup will test the mettle of the depth of Edina as they can not rely on just one line when forced to play three straight days. Or, are the big three that special? It is a game that features two teams with the same issue and it will be a battle of attrition.
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