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Hornets Rise to the Top

By Staff Reports, 01/02/09, 10:21PM CST

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Two weeks worth of big wins and a key sectional victory over the Holy Angels Stars has the Hornets buzzing.

Three teams were victorious in the Schwan Cup Thursday as Edina, Wayzata, and Mahtomedi captured the Gold, Silver and Bronze division titles respectively. With the number of high caliber teams participating, fireworks were destined to happen and that they did.

 

Gold Division:   Edina 5 Academy of Holy Angels 2

 

The Edina Hornets bolted out to a 5-2 lead after two periods and went on to defeat the Academy of Holy Angels Stars (AHA) by that same margin. The game carried considerable meaning and was viewed as more than just a “Holiday Tournament” championship. Both teams are placed in the Section 2AA and the game was vital to seeding standings since the teams don’t face each other again this regular season.

 

The Stars play in the Missota Conference that does not offer any Section 2AA foes. The Hornets participate in the soon to be defunct Classic Lake Conference (pound for pound the toughest hockey conference in the State) that too does not have any Section 2AA foes. Bloomington Jefferson poses a threat to be the number one seed as they are in a brawl with the Eden Prairie Eagles for the Lake Conference title. Conference titles, quality wins, and head to head match ups determine where teams are seeded.

 

It is not fatal to lose in the championship of these tournaments but it certainly does not help to fall to a key sectional foe. A win given the difficulty of Section 2AA will take either team a long way in their pursuit of a State Title.

 

The Hornets and Stars boast two of the best lines in high school hockey and it was the depth that would be needed to be successful. As expected, Connor Reilly hooked up with Danny Mattson and Ryan Reilly for the 1-0 lead at 5:05 of the first period. The Hornets responded with someone not named Everson, Lee or Gaarder as Charlie Taft tied the game at one from Michael Sit at 9:03 of the first session.

 

Marshall Everson went to work and scored a pair of goals 2:28 apart in the first period for the 3-1 lead late in the first. John Haeg brought the Stars within one at 3-2 on a goal from Mattson and Connor Reilly. That would be all the Stars could muster as they were out-shot 40-18 for the game. It was the emergence of the Hornets second line that turned heads, (what few there were at the X) as it was Taft again for his second of the game and 7th of the season on a sweet feed from Blake Chapman.

 

Anders Lee capped off the scoring for the 5-2 lead at 10:21 of the second period. The Hornets improved to 11-1-0 on the season and stood tall for three days at the Xcel Energy Center. Prior to the tournament, the Hornets defeated then #8 Eden Prairie, #5 Blaine, and then this week at the Cup #9 Moorhead and #7 Holy Angels.

 

The Stars fell to 5-2-1 as their shootout victory over the White Bear Lake Bears goes in the books as an official tie. With the Hornets convincing victory over the solid Stars team and the performance at the Cup, they have stepped back to the top of the pack.