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Enter the Hornets' nest

03/08/2013, 5:22pm CST
By MN Hockey Hub staff

Edina preview: Preseason favorite hopes to charge through Class 2A state tournament

Year after year, Edina coach Curt Giles needs only to make slight tweaks to the Hornets' state tournament itinerary.

The time of Edina's quarterfinal game might be different. The opponent usually changes from year to year. So do the hotels, which are assigned by the Minnesota State High School League and rotate from section to section. 

Other than that, well, the plan is pretty much the same for Giles and his Hornets, whose seven straight state tournament appearances is the longest current run of any team in the state.

Talk about consistency, heck, this year even the Hornets' players are the same.

Edina returns almost its entire lineup from last year's team that lost to eventual champion Benilde-St. Margaret's in a thrilling quarterfinal matchup. That loss has fueled a businesslike approach for a group that was already looking ahead just minutes after beating Burnsville for the Section 2AA title.

"I think this year we are more determined in getting something done"∫ senior defenseman Parker Reno said after Edina beat Burnsville to win the Section 2AA championship. "We're not really satisfied with just getting there."

No. 3-seeded Edina (22-6-0) plays unseeded Lakeville North (11-16-1) in a 1 p.m. quarterfinal on Thursday, March 7.

-- Loren Nelson

Team snapshot

FORWARDS: Junior Connor Hurley and sophomore Dylan Malmquist are two of the state's most dangerous snipers, and a recent reunion with senior Andy Jordahl (he played with Hurley and Malmquist all of last season) gives the Hornets one of the best forward units in the tournament. 

DEFENSE: Hard-hitting seniors Parker Reno (RPI) and Matt Nelson (Princeton) are bound for Division I programs. Junior Tyler Nanne, recently moved off the top line and back to defense, is a shifty two-way threat. 

GOALTENDING: Senior Willie Benjamin, at 6-foot-2, 190-pounds, occupies much of the net simply through sound positioning. He also has an abundance of big-game experience and a low-key personality ideal for the big stage.

Coach's Corner: Curt Giles

Giles, a former Minnesota North Stars' defenseman, has been well-served by his even-keeled demeanor and matter-of-fact approach to coaching. He might not show it, but he'll tell you he's having the time of his life coaching the Hornets. "There is nothing like this, there just really isn't," Giles said before last year's state tournament. That's something coming from someone who played nearly 900 NHL games and won a silver medal with Team Canada in the 1992 Olympics.

Prediction

Edina's top line is as good as any in the tournament, which makes the Hornets a scary draw for any team. Breakdowns in the defensive zone have been troublesome at times this season and could prove fatal if the Hornets reach the semifinals as expected.

State tournament schedule

Team Info

Nickname: Hornets
Conference: Lake
Section: 2AA
2012-13 Record: 22-6-0
State trips: 1973, 74 Champs, 77, 78 Champs, 79 Champs (as Edina East), 1981 (as Edina West), 1955, 56, 57, 60, 62, 67, 68, 69 Champs, 70, 71 Champs, 72, 82 Champs, 83, 84 Champs, 87, 88 Champs, 89, 95, 96, 97 Champs, 98, 2000, 07, 08, 09, 10 Champs, 11, 12, 13
Coach: Curt Giles
Assistants: Dave Langevin, Dave Terwilliger
Home arena: Braemar Ice Arena
Last season: Lost to Duluth East in Class 2A consolation semifinals, 3-2

Road to the X

Section results

Regular Season Leaders

State Tournament News

Tag(s): Edina  Class AA  Tourney Headquarters  State Tourney Guidebook