Rabid fan base, a packed house, end-to-end action and last-minute heroics.
While that atmosphere might be unique to most teams, in the Lake Conference it is just another day at the rink.
No. 3-ranked Edina and No. 4 Wayzata tied 3-3 on Saturday at the Plymouth Ice Center, but for as disappointing as a tie can sometimes be, the standing-room-only crowd had plenty to be excited about.
"This was a great atmosphere to play in," Edina coach Curt Giles said. "Our players love coming here to play in big games like this."
Edina typically sees big crowds at Braemar Arena, and as in their recent trips to the Plymouth Ice Center, they also are starting to see bigger ones on the road.
"It's nice to come into a place like this and see a big crowd," Edina junior Dylan Malmquist said. "They have a great fan base and ours travels well, too, so it was a great game and a great atmosphere to play in."
Quality opportunities were at a premium between the conference rivals and a desperate need to capitalize on the few that occurred were imperative.
The Hornets had four shots on goal after the first period. That doubled Wayzata's total of two.
"We are going to have close games like this in our conference every night," Wayzata coach Pat O'Leary said. "I think we all expect them to be like this."
Trojans' defenseman Alex Stevens gave his team a 3-2 lead with 44 seconds left in the second period, when his shot from the point snuck by Hornets' goalie Andrew Rohkohl.
"Those are some of those seeing-eye goals that happen a lot in tight games," O'Leary said. "I was glad that we were starting to get pucks to the net on them."
Edina began to pour it on in the third. A relentless forcheck forced several icing calls on Wayzata, simply to get fresh bodies on the ice.
One line after the other, the Hornets put a mountain of pressure on Wayzata.
"We didn't do anything different at all from the previous two periods," Giles said. "I think our guys did a great job of executing our plan and it really worked out well for us in the third."
It appeared Malmquist was going to tie the score midway through the third. He faked a shot and got a Trojan to bite, then cut to the slot to fire off a wrist shot.
"I'm sure Dylan saw nothing but net," O'Leary said. (see video below)
Trojans' goalie Vaughan Ahrens lost his stick in the process, but was somehow able to get a teammates' stick in his hands and dive back to make a huge save on Malmquist's shot.
"He just dove across like Superman," O'Leary said. "Malmquist did what Malmquist does, but Vaughan (Ahrens) obviously made a great save."
"I really don't know what I did," Ahrens said. "I knew I had to get back and just did what I could."
Malmquist would get him back.
Trojans' forward Max Zimmer was called for hooking with 2 minutes, 37 seconds left in the third. Malmquist tied it all up a minute later when he got the puck at the bottom of the right circle and one-timed a shot by Ahrens in the upper shelf.
"It really could have gone to anybody who was there," Malmquist said. "We had a great power play set up and were able to get one in."
Rohkohl finished with 14 saves while Ahrens had 23.
"Just another tight game in our conference," Malmquist said. "Nobody likes to see a tie, but I think we will take it."
"We are not happy with the tie, but it was a great game," O'Leary said. "There is so much that we learn from these games and I know all the players like them too."
Edina is now 12-4-1 on the season and will be back at home next Thursday to take on Hopkins. Wayzata, also 12-4-1, will be at home next Thursday against Minnetonka.