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Seventh heaven

By Star Tribune and MN Hockey Hub staff, 02/28/13, 1:10AM CST


Section 2AA final: Edina edges Burnsville to earn seventh straight state tournament trip

Edina beat Burnsville on Wednesday to reach the state tournament for the seventh straight season. Photo by Brian Nelson

All the trappings of a typical section championship celebration were there.

Base-thumping music pouring out of the locker room, heaps of hugs and high-fives, piano-key smiles all around.

Still, there was something different about Edina’s postgame celebration after the Hornets beat Burnsville 3-2 on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis to win the Section 2AA championship and qualify for the state tournament for a seventh consecutive season.

The unbridled joy of reaching one of nation’s largest and most storied high school events was missing.

Edina’s mood was more along the lines of subdued elation.

More work has yet to be done. The job gets tougher. The stakes higher. The next loss, should there be one, really stings.

The Hornets know this from firsthand experience.

“Winning the section is great, but that’s just the first step,” Hornets sophomore Dylan Malmquist said. “Now we have three more games, hopefully, to try and go out there and take the state (title).”

Edina's Cullen Munson. Photo by Brian Nelson

“Last year we have ton of the same kids we have on the team this year. So we know that feeling and we are going to do everything we can not to feel that way again.”

“That feeling” would be the devastation that came from losing to eventual champion Benilde-St. Margaret’s in last year’s quarterfinals. 

No. 6-ranked Edina lost just four players from last season’s team and was the No. 1 seed in the section after a 19-6-0 regular season. This is a group that has seniors and juniors sprinkled in key spots throughout the lineup. Playing in front of a huge crowd at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul isn’t that big of a deal anymore. Not to these guys.

“I think this year we are more determined in getting something done,” Hornets defenseman Parker Reno said. “We’re not really satisfied with just getting there.”

If all of this seems a little routine for Edina, that’s because it is. The Hornets’ run of seven straight state tournament appearances is the longest current streak of any team in the state (in either class). Beating Burnsville in the section title game has become part of the landscape. This was the third straight year the Hornets used the Blaze as their final state steppingstone.

“I’ll tell you what, this is hard to do once, to get there,” Edina coach Curt Giles said. “It is so enjoyable to watch the kids get so excited about the opportunity to play in the Minnesota state high school hockey tournament. It’s a big deal.”

After playing mostly airtight defense for the first 15 minutes of a scoreless third period, Edina was forced to kill a penalty for most of the final two.

Giles was decidedly uncomfortable on the bench.

“Name those five or six players they had on the ice,” he said. “Tell me those kids aren’t good hockey players. I’ll tell you what, that will give you a stomachache in a hurry. They are very, very good players. And our kids rose to the occasion, and that’s so much fun to watch."

-- Loren Nelson, MN Hockey Hub

Edina's Connor Hurley has an open net opportunity but Burnsville sophomore Jack Ahcan makes a nice defensive play to deny the attempt. Photo by Brian Nelson

Statistics, Summary

Game Recap

Edina secured its seventh consecutive state tournament appearance with a 3-2 victory against Burnsville in the Class 2A, Section 2 championship game Wednesday at Mariucci Arena.

The No. 6 Hornets (22-6) led 2-1 after the first period. Cullen Munson’s second period goal held up as the game winner.

Tyler Sheehy led No. 12 Burnsville (17-10-1) with two goals.

Trailing Edina 3-2 for much of the third period, Burnsville went on a power play with two minutes remaining in regulation but could not get the equalizer.

Leading 2-1 after one period, Edina pushed its advantage to 3-1 on Munson’s goal at 11:14. In need of a spark, Burnsville received one from Sheehy. He intercepted a pass attempt by Edina’s Tyler Nanne above the Hornets’ circles and buried his chance at 13:35 to draw the Blaze closer at 3-2.

Burnsville took an early 1-0 lead at 1:31 of the first period Sheehy’s first goal. He nearly made it 2-0 but Edina goalie Willie Benjamin got a leg pad on the puck.

Edina knotted the game 1-1 on Andy Jordahl’s goal from Dylan Malmquist at 5:57. The Hornets almost took a lead as Connor Hurley hit the post.

Edina built its 2-1 advantage later in the period as Burnsville defenseman Teemu Kivihalme and goalie Chris Mallon struggled to control the puck. An opportunistic Dan Hinueber took the puck away and scored at 13:32 of the first period.

-- David La Vaque, Star Tribune

Edina's Andy Jordahl (10) stations himself in front of Burnsville defenseman Teemu Kivihalme. Photo by Brian Nelson

1. Cullen Munson, Edina
The junior forward scored what proved to be the winning goal in the second period when he grabbed a loose puck in the high slot and unloaded a low shot that slid under Burnsville goaltender Chris Mallon.

2. Tyler Sheehy, Burnsville
The junior forward’s game is all about speed, speed and more speed. But don’t forget about Sheehy’s shot. He intercepted a Tyler Nanne clearing pass in the high slot and wasted little time in flicking a rocket that sailed over Edina goalie Willie Benjamin and into the upper right corner. The goal was Sheehy’s second of the night and pulled the Blaze to within 3-2.

3. Andy Jordahl, Edina
Reunited and it feels so good for Jordahl, who spent part of the season centering the Hornets’ second line but was moved back to his normal spot alongside Connor Hurley and Dylan Malmquist late in the season. Jordahl scored a first-period goal to tie the score at 1 and the Hornets’ top line dominated play for much of the first two periods.

-- Loren Nelson, MN Hockey Hub

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