Edina captain Dylan Malmquist held tight to teammates Friday evening as their dreams crashed around them.
A 3-1 loss to Duluth East meant no third consecutive Class 2A title shot. Players grieving on the bench could take comfort knowing they got a chance to change the outcome on the ice.
Hit in the back of the knee by a puck in Thursday’s game, Malmquist did not feel adequate to play on Friday. He skated in warmups but never played a shift.
“I didn’t feel like it would be better for the team if I was out there,” said Malmquist, who stayed in pads and helmet on the bench most of the game. “I just tried to support the guys. I had confidence in them. They are a great team.”
Teammates missed the scoring prowess of Edina’s all-time leader in points. But most of all, they missed their buddy.
“It’s hard to see our leader go down like that,” co-captain Matt Masterman said. “We tried to rally around the support that he gave us.”
Edina players knew the outcome was sealed before play was topped with 3.7 seconds remaining. Malmquist comforted goaltender Kobi Boe and linemate Parker Mismash as their student section chanted, “Thank you seniors,” over the din of a crowd saluting Duluth East’s stunning upset.
Malmquist, a key player on the Hornets’ past two championship teams, led his team through the handshake line to congratulate Duluth East. A bag of ice was wrapped around his left leg where a shin pad and sock should have been.
“I told him he’s a heck of hockey player, ‘Get healthy,’ and, ‘You’ve got a great career ahead of you,’” Greyhounds coach Mike Randolph said.
Malmquist, a Mr. Hockey finalist who signed with Notre Dame, matured as a rare four-year member of Edina’s varsity. He learned to be a calmer player this season and drew on all his strength Friday evening.
“It was hard,” Malmquist said. “But it would have hurt the team more than it would have helped if I had a meltdown so I just tried to stay calm, stay positive and support them as much as I could.”