Eveleth-Gilbert 5, Chaska 4. It remains one of the most confounding scores from last season, given that the Class 1A Golden Bears were in the midst of a 12-11-1 season while the Hawks, led by Division I recruits Mike Koster and Rhett Pittlick, had aspirations of reaching the Class 2A state tournament.
Last season’s game was played in Eveleth at the venerable Hippodrome. This year, the rematch is set for the modern Chaska Community Center. Can the Bears pull off another stunning upset? Eveleth-Gilbert (3-1-0, 1-0-0) does have a duo of top-end players in senior forward Elliot Van Orsdel (six goals, 11 points) and senior defenseman Will Troutwine (team-best seven assists). Both played in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League this fall.
Chaska (1-2-1, 0-0-0) lost Koster to graduation and Pitlick to an early departure to play junior hockey, but the Hawks return plenty of firepower in senior forwards Shane Lavelle and Nick Olmscheid, plus a couple of newcomers worth watching in freshman forward Jimmy Snuggerud (son of coach Dave Snuggerud) and sophomore defenseman Max Burkholder, who has committed to Colorado College.