Lakeville South sophomore Cade Ahrenholz (19) and senior Riley Portnerore celebrate during the Class 2A, Section 1 final against Lakeville North on Feb. 28. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
LAKEVILLE SOUTH (14-12-1) VS. EDEN PRAIRIE (NO. 3, 17-9-2), 1 P.M.
Scouting the Cougars: An 0-5-1 stretch from Jan. 31 to Feb. 14 confused rather than concerned first-year Cougars coach Janne Kivihalme. “We were practicing pretty well, we just weren’t bringing it to the games,” he said. “But we started the year with seniors who didn’t have much varsity experience, plus eight sophomores. It took them a while to understand what’s required to be consistently successful.” South’s current four-game winning streak is its longest this season. “If teams take us for granted, we can make them pay,” Kivihalme said.
Scouting the Eagles: A 7-4 victory over Lake-ville South on Jan. 31 showcased all of Eden Prairie’s key components. First, the Eagles outshot the Cougars 48-18, starting with 20 shots in the opening period. “When we quit shooting the puck and try to get fancy, that’s not the formula for us,” coach Lee Smith said. Second, Mr. Hockey finalist Jack Jensen tallied a hat trick. When he is going strong, the Eagles are at their best. Third, the four remaining goals were scored by four different players on two other lines.
Worth knowing: Eden Prairie junior goalie Axel Rosenlund has ties to a regal hockey family. His mother Karen’s maiden name is Bianchi. Her father and ex-Bloomington Jefferson assistant coach John Bianchi were first cousins. John Bianchi won five state titles.
DAVID LA VAQUE