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Edina hands No. 1 Hill-Murray first loss

By MN Hockey Hub, 12/28/13, 1:45PM CST

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No. 2 Hornets beat Pioneers to win championship of Schwan Cup Gold Division


Edina strikes a poseafter winning the Schwan Cup Gold Division Championship on Saturday at Ridder Arena. Photo by Katherine Matthews


Edina goaltender Andrew Rohkohl. Photo by Katherine Matthews

Forget about all those fancy penalty-killing configurations. Boxes and diamonds and triangles don’t mean a whole lot if the goalie doesn’t stop the puck. 

“The most important penalty killer you’ve got is your goaltender,” Edina coach Curt Giles said. 

It would be hard to argue with that assessment, especially after Hornets goaltender Andrew Rohkohl made 36 saves in Edina’s 4-2 victory over previously unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Hill-Murray on Saturday in the championship game of the Schwan Cup Gold Division at Ridder Arena.

No. 2 Edina (10-2-0) killed off a full two minutes of a Hill-Murray 5-on-3 in the early stages of the second period, then staged another crucial penalty kill in the final minutes of the third period to hold on for the win.

Rohkohl, a senior who spent most of last season in a backup role, made numerous spectacular stops during the Hill-Murray power plays, including at least a half dozen glove-hand snares.

“He played outstanding, he was standing on his head the whole time,” Edina sophomore Garrett Wait said about Rohkohl. “He was our backbone today. We couldn’t have done it without him.”

Wait scored what proved to be the winning goal 73 seconds into the third period when he banged home the rebound of Ben Foley shot from the point. Casey Dornbach, another Hornets’ sophomore, scored in the first period.

“They are stepping up big,” Rohkohl said about Edina’s bumper crop of sophomores. “Not only our seniors, but our sophomores, everyone wants to pitch in and that’s why we are doing so well lately.”

The tournament title was the second in as many weeks for the Hornets, who dispatched Grand Rapids, Elk River and Eden Prairie in the Edina Holiday Classic. Edina beat Breck and Burnsville on Thursday and Friday to earn its shot Hill-Murray, the defending Gold Division champion. 

“It definitely adds a little hype,” Rohkohl said about playing Hill-Murray (9-1-0). “You want to beat the No. 1 team in the state. It puts a little target on their back. It feels good.”

The game was a rematch of the state Class 2A championship last March, also won 4-2 by Edina.

“It’s not reality,” Hill-Murray coach Bill Lechner said about the notion of an undefeated season. “Not in high school hockey these days. 

“There is a long way to go, and even 9-1 is a challenge to keep that moving.”

-- Loren Nelson

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Edina sophomore Garrett Wait. Photo by Katherine Matthews

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Micah Miller leaps to the fans after scoring the game winner.

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Moorhead's Jack Stetz (21) throws his arms up as he and his teammates celebrated the win. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@startribune.com