Elite high school hockey players in Minnesota are part of a small fraternity.
Eventually, it seems all the top players get to know each other by being thrown together on various all-star teams before and after the high school season.
So there’s your explanation as to how Benilde-St. Margaret’s junior Christian Horn and Apple Valley sophomore Hudson Fasching are new, best friends. At least through the conclusion of the Bauer National Invitational Tourament, anyway.
“We showed up for the first practice and (Minnesota White coach Sean Toomey) walked into the locker room and told me and Steiny we were playing with Fasching,” Horn said about first hearing he was on a line with the Eagles’ scoring sensation and Benilde-St. Margaret’s teammate Pat Steinhauser. “Me and Steiny had never met Fasching before. We were were just sitting in the lockerroom and it was like, alright, ‘What’s up Fasching?’ ”
What’s up is a line with instant chemistry and some serious offensive clout. Horn scored twice for Minnesota White in its 3-1 semifinal win over Minnesota Red on Saturday, Nov. 6, at New Hope Ice Arena in New Hope.
“I love playing with both of them,” said Horn, who scored Minnesota White’s first goal on a nifty backhand stuff shot in the second period and then completed his team’s scoring in the third with a high velocity wrist shot over Minnesota Red goaltender Alex Lyon’s glove hand and into the upper regions of the net.
Horn, who won a state boys’ lacrosse title with Benilde-St. Margaret’s in the spring, isn’t a stranger to big-game settings. Neither is Fasching, who this week led Apple Valley to the state Class AA boys’ soccer title by scoring twice in the title game.
“It’s weird too, because he is 6-4 on skates, and when you are skating with him it’s like, ‘Oh my god, this guy has got to be older than me,’ ” Horn said about the 6-foot-1 1/2, 189-pound Fasching. “And then you realize once you get back to the bench that he just got his permit three weeks ago and he’s only 15, and we’re 17.”
Horn scored 52 points last season (17 goals, 35 assists) in 27 games for the Red Knights. He has visited the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin and had contact with Colorado College, among other schools. His credibility with recruiters certainly was enhanced with his performance on Saturday.
“It’s kind of intimidating, playing in front of all those scouts,” Horn said. “And then when you score those goals it’s like, alright, I hope I’m getting looked at.”
Most important, though, for Horn is the chance to win what truly is a national title.
“Playing in the championship game of this tournament, with kids from all across the United States, it should be really fun,” he said about Sunday’s matchup with Shattuck-St. Mary’s. “You are representing high school hockey in Minnesota. You know, showing people how good we really are. You couldn’t ask for anything better.”
1. Christian Horn, Minnesota White
A junior from Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Horn scored two goals. His second goal came early in the third period after he found some open space in the slot and, after taking a pass from Edina’s Jake Sampson, ripped a shot over the catching glove of Minnesota Red goaltender Alex Lyon.
2. Alex Lyon, Minnesota Red
Lyon, a senior from Lake of the Woods (pictured above) calmly withstood an avalanche of rubber. He faced 53 shots and casually turned all but three of them aside to further cement his status as the Elite League’s top goaltender this fall.
3. Ryan Bullock, Minnesota White
The senior defenseman from Blake was an alternate before the tournament started and played without a nametag on the back of his jersey. Nametag or not, there’s no doubt his two assists and numerous booming shots from the point caught the attention of the dozens of pro and junior scouts in attendance.
A series of strange twists and turns, unexpected phone calls and abrupt stops and starts eventually ended with Blake senior Ryan Bullock on the ice for Minnesota White in its Bauer National Invitational Tournament semifinal victory over Minnesota Red.
Bullock, a defenseman who scored three goals and added five assists in 23 Elite League games this fall, originally was selected as an alternate for the Minnesota White squad. But an injury to Edina’s Ben Ostlie in the tournament quarterfinals (he reportedly suffered a head injury) cleared room for Bullock on the roster.
In fact, Bullock was on his way home from the New Hope Ice Arena on Friday night when he got a call from Elite League founder and commissioner John Russo with the message that Bullock should turn around and head back to the rink.
“It was kind of hectic,” said Bullock, who has committed to play at Dartmouth. “I got a call from Russo, who told me to come back. I started to get dressed, and then he told me I couldn’t play because of some ruling."
“It was pretty tough, but I got my chance today.”
The 5-foot-11½, 173-pound Bullock registered two assists and unloaded numerous booming shots from the point in Minnesota White’s 3-1 triumph. His coaches were raving over his play after the game.
As for the dozens of scouts in the stands, it’s hard to say what their impression was. As a replacement, Bullock didn’t have his name stitched on the back of his jersey like the rest of Minnesota White’s players.
“Hopefully they know who I am,” he joked. “I guess I could get out a Sharpie.”
Benilde-St. Margaret’s junior Christian Horn scored twice, and Blaine’s Jonny Brodzinski registered the game-winning goal less than a minute into the third period to lead Minnesota White past Minnesota Red 3-1 on Saturday, Nov. 6, in the semifinals of the Bauer National Invitational Tournament at New Hope Ice Arena in New Hope.
After a scoreless first period, Horn scored 7:44 into the second period on a goal that included an assist from Minnesota White goaltender Charlie Lindgren of Lakeville North.
Brodzinski scored just 36 seconds into the third period and Horn followed with his second goal 66 seconds later to put Minnesota White ahead 3-0.
Simon Leahy of the University School of Milwaukee scored to pull Minnesota Red to within 3-1 with 5:46 left in the third period.
Minnesota Red lost despite a brilliant performance from goaltender Alex Lyon, a senior from Lake of the Woods. Lyon finished with 50 saves, including 38 over the final two periods.
Lindgren, a junior, made 37 saves for Minnesota White.