Eden Prairie's Steven Spinner, right, scored a goal and had two assists in Saturday's Section 6AA semifinal win over Holy Family Catholic. Photo by Loren Nelson
They say practice makes perfect, and for Eden Prairie seniors Luc Snuggerud and Steven Spinner, perhaps that saying explains why both players were named as Mr. Hockey finalists this year.
"It's great going against him every day at practice," Snuggerud said. "We just push each other to get better and that competitiveness is always there. It's really great."
Snuggerud laughed when asked if the dynamic Eagles (16-8-3) duo had ever thrown down in practice, but he did say it has gotten heated a time or two.
All in good fun because all of that practice together has paid off for Eden Prairie.
The second-seeded Eagles beat No. 3 seed Holy Family Catholic 6-2 on Saturday afternoon at Braemar Arena in Edina in a Section 6AA semifinal game.
Snuggerud notched four assists and Spinner tallied a goal and two assists.
Eagles coach Lee Smith knows he's lucky having two players with such a high talent level still on the roster. In an era of Minnesota hockey when great players often leave school before their senior year, there are guys like Snuggerud and Spinner.
"We're fortunate that they're here," Smith said. "With all the talk of kids leaving high school, (Snuggerud and Spinner) are unselfish enough to stay and try to win a title for their community and for their buddies, that just tells you what kind of character they have."
Being named Mr. Hockey finalists is a big deal to both players, with Spinner calling it an "honor" and Snuggerud saying he was "humbled."
"Just seeing all the people who succeed after being a finalist, not even winning it, just being a finalist, it's a huge honor and I'm lucky," Spinner said.
"It's a dream to be named a finalist," Snuggerud said. "Obviously it's a salute to my teammates. They've been there all year long and making great plays to allow me to make some plays, so it's a testament to them as well."
The pair of seniors have their Eagles flying all around the ice and now have a date with either Wayzata, who they haven't scored a goal against in two regular season games this year, or Benilde-St. Margaret's, a team they went 2-1-0 against in the regular season.
No doubt Eden Prairie will be relying on its Mr. Hockey Finalists at Mariucci Arena on Wednesday, but Smith knows it'll take more than just his talented seniors.
"We've got a really good hockey team," Smith said. "We just have to play as a team, and then we've got a chance."