Benilde-St. Margaret's senior Dan Labosky had four assists in the Red Knights' 5-1 victory over Minnetonka. Photo by Katherine Matthews
Dan Labosky has had all sorts of labels attached to his 5-foot-7, 150-pound frame.
Speedster. Sharpshooter. Instigator.
Clear a spot for one more.
“I got a chance to play with him a little bit earlier this year, and he would find you in places and it would be pretty easy to put the puck in the net,” Benilde-St. Margaret’s junior forward Spencer Naas said after Labosky set up four of the Red Knights’ goals in their 5-1 victory over Minnetonka on Saturday, Jan. 12, at the St. Louis Park Rec Center. “Yeah, it’s pretty fun playing with him and watching him play.”
A senior Colorado College recruit, Labosky has skated alongside Grant Besse and T.J. Moore on one of the most prolific scoring lines in state history for four seasons. Labosky has been closely monitoring Besse’s climb up the state’s all-time career scoring chart (Besse currently ranks sixth with 140 goals) and wondered aloud how high Besse can go.
With Labosky dishing the puck like he did Saturday, who knows?
“Lobo’s speed is clearly a factor,” Benilde-St. Margaret’s coach Ken Pauly said. “He is an energy guy. He brought it. He brought it tonight.”
Senior forward Dan Labosky, a Colorado College recruit, leads Benilde-St. Margaret's with 29 assists. Photo by Katherine Matthews
Labosky was behind the Minnetonka net when he found Besse cruising down the slot for a one-timer to open the scoring early in the first period. Assist No. 2 came on a Red Knights power play, when Labosky went cross-ice with the puck to Besse for another one timer, this one from a sharp angle to the right of Skippers’ goaltender Paul Ciaccio.
Labosky and Besse have combined at least three times this season for goals on the same side-to-side passing play.
“That was such a bad angle, too,” Labosky said about Besse’s power-play goal. “He was almost on the goal line. It was so fast, and he’s got such a hard shot, that it is tough for goalies to stop.”
Labosky also had assists on Naas’ two goals as Benilde-St. Margaret’s built a 4-0 lead.
“In my view I thought he was the most important player on the ice tonight,” Pauly said. “He opens so much up.”
Labosky had his scoring chances, too. He wheeled around Minnetonka defensemen on several occasions, allowing him to shoot hassle free on the Skippers’ goal. At least two of those shots hit iron, and Ciaccio and backup Jacob Berger, who took over in the third period, were required to make difficult saves on several occasions.
While Besse’s historic scoring exploits often overshadow the superb play of Labosky and Moore, opposing coaches are well aware of the firepower spread throughout Benilde-St. Margaret’s top line.
“I know he’s not underrated in our book,” Minnetonka coach Brian Urick said about Labosky, who ranks second on the Red Knights with 36 points (seven goals, 29 assists). “We are very aware of him.
“That first line, you give them chances and they are going to score.”
Labosky led the Red Knights with eight shots and admitted it would have been nice to see one of them find the back of the net.
“I wanted that last one, that slapshot,” he said about his third-period blast off the goalpost. “I was just like, ‘Ahhhh.’ ”
Minnetonka's Tommy Brandabur watches as the puck sails past Benilde-St. Margaret's goaltender Andrew Sprang. Photo by Katherine Matthews
Grant Besse and Spencer Naas each scored twice and Dan Labosky had four assists as No. 3-ranked Benilde-St. Margaret’s beat No. 6 Minnetonka 5-1 on Saturday, Jan. 12, at the St. Louis Park Rec Center.
Labosky, a senior who has committed to Colorado College, set up Besse, a senior who is bound for Wisconsin, for two goals in the first period as the Red Knights (10-4-0) raced to a 3-0 lead. Besse’s second goal came on power play, as he drilled home a one-timer off a cross-ice feed from Labosky.
Minnetonka (9-4-1) had several quality scoring chances in the first period, when it outshot Benilde-St. Margaret’s 10-8, but the Skippers were unable to solve Red Knights goaltender Andrew Sprang.
Labosky also had assists on both Naas goals – one in the first period and one in the second – to help Benilde-St. Margaret’s take a 5-0 lead into the third. Naas’ second goal came shorthanded, as he whipped a wrist shot high over Minnetonka starting goaltender Paul Ciaccio.
Minnetonka senior Connor Thie ruined Sprang’s shutout attempt with a backhand goal from close range with 8:03 left in the third.
Sophomore Chase Jungels capped the scoring for the Red Knights.
Sprang finished with 24 saves. Ciaccio had 20 saves on 25 shots through two periods. Minnetonka sophomore Jacob Berger took over to start the third and made 11 saves.
1. Dan Labosky, Benilde-St. Margaret’s
The 5-foot-7, 150-pound senior played his high-speed game to perfection, creating all sorts of havoc with his ability to wheel past Minnetonka’s defensemen. Labosky had a team-high eight shots, including at last a couple that found posts and crossbars, but his playmaking (he had four assists) was the catalyst for the Red Knights.
2. Grant Besse, Benilde-St. Margaret’s
What is left to say about the state’s best pure goal scorer? He had two more, both in the first period, to get the Red Knights off to a blazing start. His second goal, a one-timer on a power play, was a laser from an incredibly tough angle. Few high schoolers have the skills to connect on that shot.
3. Andrew Sprang, Benilde-St. Margaret’s
The senior goaltender made several tough saves in the opening period as Minnetonka had at least as many quality scoring chances as the Red Knights but still trailed 3-0. Sprang finished with 24 saves.