There was a time (such as last season) when matchups like this, pitting two of the state’s top three teams, were commonplace. When powerhouse squads crisscrossed the state in search of top-notch competition. When legions of fans could pick and choose which must-see matchup they were going to attend on a given night.
Scheduling restraints imposed this season because of the COVID-19 pandemic have drastically reduced the number of marquee showdowns, reminding those same fans just how spoiled they had been. Given the teams’ rankings, records, and array of stars, Tuesday’s meeting between Benilde-St. Margaret’s, ranked No. 2 in the Class 2A coaches' poll from Feb. 10, and No. 3-2A Eden Prairie will no doubt test the boundaries of the seating limits at the Eden Prairie Community Center and bandwidth of the online video stream.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s (10-0-0) has been getting clutch scoring from junior Adam Marshall (4 game-winners among his 11 goals) and senior Jackson Bisson (8 goals, including 3 game-winners). Junior Tristan Sarsland has seven goals and 11 assists as he continues his emergence as one of the state’s elite defensemen. Not to mention the superb play of senior goaltender Carson Limesand (1.78 goals-against average) and the addition of freshman transfer Drew Stewart (4 goals, 3 assists in 5 games).
The late arrival of junior forward Jackson Blake has provided a turbo boost to Eden Prairie’s already formidable offense. Blake, who was playing for the United States Hockey League's Chicago Steel before rejoining the Eagles, has 25 points in six games. Senior Carter Batchelder leads Eden Prairie (8-1-0) with 14 goals. Eden Prairie has scored a combined 36 goals in its last six games.