Eden Prairie sophomore Jackson Blake (10) is congratulated by linemate John Mittlestadt (9) after Blake scored a first-period goal, the first of his varsity career Thursday night. Photo by Drew Herron, SportsEngine
Eden Prairie’s matchup with Buffalo on Thursday was, at least on paper, just another tilt for the Eagles to run through their Lake Conference schedule this season. In reality, however, it wound up being a pretty significant night for the program.
In addition to it being a chance for Eden Prairie to snap a two-game skid, It was also an opportunity for the Eagles to show off their newest shiny offensive toy in Jackson Blake, a sophomore forward who made his highly anticipated varsity debut against the Bison.
For Blake and his teammates, the game went as well as it could have gone. Blake recorded his first varsity goal, and Eden Prairie, ranked No. 5 in the Class 2A coaches’ poll, rolled to a 9-1 victory over Lake newcomer Buffalo (5-15-0, 1-7-0) to stay atop the conference standings.
Eden Prairie senior forward Ben Steeves buries a first-period goal en route to a hat trick in Thursday's 9-1 victory over Buffalo. Photo by Drew Herron, SportsEngine
Eden Prairie hit the ice at the Eden Prairie Community Center for a matchup that was important for several reasons Thursday night. Not only was it a chance for the Eagles to snap a two-game skid, it was the varsity debut of standout sophomore Jackson Blake.
The game turned out to be a breeze, as Eden Prairie cruised to a 9-1 victory over Lake Conference newcomer Buffalo, with Blake scoring his first goal for the Eagles (14-4-1, 5-1-0).
Junior forward Riku Brown kicked off the scoring for Eden Prairie, ranked No. 5 in the Class 2A coaches’ poll, and finished with a pair of goals in the win.
Blake notched his goal on a hard shot in front of the net in the first period, while his linemate, senior forward Ben Steeves, took the reigns and powered the Eagles’ offense with a true hat trick. He had the final two goals in the first period and the first score of the middle second period.
Junior Carter Batchelder, sophomore Jake Luloff and junior Mason Langenbrunner scored the other Eagles’ goals.
Buffalo (5-15-0, 1-7-0) didn’t scratch the scoresheet until late in the third period, when senior forward Tyler Braccini tallied the Bison’s lone goal, his team-best 17th goal of the season.
Outside of Braccini’s tally, Buffalo managed just 14 shots on Eden Prairie junior goaltender Eli Andrew. Bison junior goalie Levi Preugschas stopped 34 shots.
Buffalo junior goalie Levi Preugschas stopped 34 shots in Thursday night's loss against No. 5-2A ranked Eden Prairie. Photo by Drew Herron, SportsEngine
The MN Hockey Hub poll is for entertainment purposes only.