The Edina celebration begins after Lou Nanne's overtime goal against Eden Prairie during the Edina Holiday Classic. Photo by Adam Crane
Edina sophomore forward Lou Nanne. Photo by Adam Crane
There was a sign in the Edina student section that ironically read: 'That was easy' during the Saturday, Dec. 18 game against Eden Prairie in the Edina Holiday Classic.
Lou Nanne’s overtime goal to win the game for the Hornets – as well as the game itself – was hardly "easy".
"I was just going trying to get in-front of the net," Nanne said. "I’m not normally the first one in there, I’ll say, I’m normally the one trailing in. I just try to find my way to the puck."
Nanne found his way to the puck and put a shot on goal that knuckled up and over Eden Prairie goaltender Andrew Ford, spun under the crossbar and sneaked past the goal line.
"That time, Michael (Sit) just threw the puck on net and it found its way out to me," Nanne said. "I guess (Andrew) Ford was out of position and it was just a lucky shot.
"A lucky chip shot, I guess."
True, the shot may have seemed more at place coming from a pitching wedge at a golf course.
"I dunno, I was thinking more of like a sand wedge," Nanne said. "I skulled it though.
"All three of my goals this tournament, one every game, they’ve been all like I skulled a pitching wedge it felt like. I haven’t gotten it clean but they found its way. That one I think it hit the goalie’s pad before it went in too. A little different than normal but it went in."
The overtime goal was the cherry on top of a great hockey game that had the entire crowd at Braemar Arena on the edge of their seats.
"You know what? I don’t know if you spent five or six bucks to get into the game to watch that but that was well worth your money," Curt Giles, Edina head coach, said. "Great hockey game."
Edina was able to keep Eden Prairie’s Kyle Rau off the score sheet after he scored six points (3 goals, 3 assists) in the Eagles’ last two games against Elk River and Grand Rapids.
"We felt much better than the last two games," Giles said.
The second period featured a quick goal by Edina’s Nick Bakke that sparked a fire underneath the Hornets. That fire turned into a blaze with 1:45 left in the second period.
Edina senior goaltender Connor Girard. Photo by Adam Crane
"That second period was pretty crazy," Edina’s goaltender Connor Girard said.
Girard was at his best as he faced a strong surge by Eden Prairie and needed all the help he could get to keep Eden Prairie from taking the lead.
"It was a weird play," Girard said. "The puck was bouncing around and then someone got a stick on it. It hit my glove then it hit the post and then it came straight down. Then it was on the line and I was like 'Where is it going to go?'
"Then I think it was Steven Fogarty who was right there and he kept it out of the net for what seemed like two minutes."
"Guys were just battling," Girard said. "I had no idea where it was. Then the refs finally blew the whistle and then everyone just started going at it."
The scrap that followed in front of Girard led to an all-out brawl between the Hornets and Eagles that were on the ice.
As the student sections cheered, both benches were restrained by their respective coaches while punches were thrown and equipment flew during the melee.
When the dust had settled, Edina's Max Everson and Eden Prairie's Nick Seeler both received double minors for roughing. Edina's Michael Sit, Matt Nelson and Nick Leer as well as Eden Prairie's Mark Rath, David Rath and Brad Boldenow all received roughing penalties.
"Eden Prairie and Edina is always a good rivalry," Nanne said. "Things tend to get out of hand. Today there were a couple scrums and there was a lot of bloodshed. But we love it, we love that kinda stuff. It helps us get into the game and get going. It helps pick up our intensity."
There seems to have been no love lost between the two rivals and the intensity is sure to overflow to the next meeting – Thursday, Feb. 3 at Eden Prairie – which will be the first conference game between the Eagles and the Hornets.
"We get them two more times," Giles said. "I can’t imagine two more games like that but I would imagine they’ll be just the same way. They’ll be better going down the stretch and hopefully we’ll continue to get better going down the stretch.
"Maybe it will be a better game."
Edina senior forward Steven Forgarty gets enough stick on the puck to keep Mark Rath of Eden Prairie from scoring. Photo by Adam Crane
Lou Nanne scored halfway through overtime to lift Edina to a 3-2 victory over Eden Prairie.
Nanne's goal fluttered over Eden Prairie's Andrew Ford who was caught out of position and could not come up with the save.
Michael Sit, Steven Fogarty and Jake Sampson - alumni from the fall season of the Upper Midwest High School Elite League - had solid games for Edina.
Sampson scored the other goal of the game for the Hornets and assisted on Nanne's goal. Sit had two assists and Fogarty had one assist. All three created scoring chances and skated hard throughout the entire game.
Nick Bakke scored the first goal for the Hornets during an action-packed second period.
Eden Prairie's star forward Kyle Rau was kept off the score sheet but still found scoring from senior forward Luc Gerdes who found the back of the net twice for the Eagles. Gerdes scored the first goal of the game and quickly answered in the third period to tie the game after Edina had scored to make it 2-1.
The entire game featured excellent hockey and had several high points including an intense brawl between several players late in the second period.
Although neither bench cleared, every skater on the ice was involved in the scrap which saw punches thrown and equipment flying. The melee sent eight players to the penalty box and provided 20 of the game's 36 penalty minutes.
Throughout the hard-fought game, both goaltenders played well as both Ford and Edina's Connor Girard made 30 saves each.
Eden Prairie won’t have to wait long for redemption. The Eagles will play another Class 2A Top Ten team when they travel to Eagan to battle the Wildcats on Wednesday, Dec. 22.
Up next for the Hornets will be the Greyhounds of Duluth East when the two teams face each other in the first round of the Schwan Cup at Mariucci Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 29.
Eden Prairie senior forward Luc Gerdes. Photo by Adam Crane
1. Lou Nanne, Edina
The sophomore forward played the role of hero for the Hornets scoring the game-winning goal in overtime. Nanne skated hard throughout the game but it was his effort in the overtime frame that made the difference.
2. Luc Gerdes, Eden Prairie
In a game when the Eagles' star forward Kyle Rau was kept off the scoresheet, Gerdes (pictured above) stepped up in a big way scoring twice for Eden Prairie. The senior forward scored the first goal of the game as well as the answering goal to re-tie the game in the third period after Edina had taken a 2-1 lead.
3. Connor Girard, Edina
Perhaps his best game of the season, Girard was phenomenal in-between the pipes for the Hornets. The senior goaltender made 30 saves in the 3-2 victory - three of them coming in overtime, all of them big. Girard showed strong poise and collectiveness especially when the Hornets needed it the most.
Edina co-captains Steven Fogarty (19) and Max Everson (4) take the ice for the Hornets during the Dec. 18 game against Eden Prairie. Photo by Adam Crane