Minnehaha Academy celebrates with its championship trophy after topping Chaska 5-3 Saturday at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis. Photo by Drew Herron, SportsEngine
Minnehaha Academy jumped out early, then finished strong to knock off Chaska 5-3 for the Schwan Cup Open Division championship Saturday at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis.
Five different skaters tallied goals as Minnehaha Academy, ranked No. 12 in Class 1A in the Minnesota coaches' poll, (10-1) avenged its only loss of the season with a solid victory over Chaska (9-4) to seize its first-ever Schwan Cup tournament title.
“I think we did a nice job of keeping our composure on a big stage like this,” Minnehaha Academy coach Pat Griswold said. “We’re not used to anything like this, but our guys didn’t play nervous at all today. That’s something I was a little concerned about, but proved to be just another game in the middle of the season.”
Redhawks’ forward Alex Jordan led the way with a goal and two assists to help spark Minnehaha Academy. His score midway through the second period proved to be the game-winner after each side put up three goals apiece in the first.
The start was a stark deviation to the path Chaska had taken leading up to the championship round, as the Hawks breezed through the first two rounds without surrendering a goal while producing 12 total of their own.
Minnehaha, for their part, shot often and stormed the net early to set the tone.
“The main idea today was to get pucks to the net,” Griswold said. “(Chaska) is a young team, but boy do they have skilled players, and this was our game plan to counter that.”
Rhett Pitlick, Nick Olmscheid and Ethan Benz all scored goals for Chaska, while netminder Ben Ubanciz stopped 20 of 25 shots.
Minnehaha goaltender Justin Evanson stopped 26 of the 29 shots he faced.
For Minnehaha Academy and its 10 seniors, the victory serves as an important first step as the Redhawks mark off one team goal, with three left (conference, section and state championships) to chase in the new year.
“We’ll go back to work Monday,” Griswold said. “We did some really nice things this weekend, but there is still plenty of work to do.
Chaska's Nick Olmscheid and Minnehaha Academy's Alex Jordan fight for the puck behind the Redhawks' net in the second period. Photo by Drew Herron, SportsEngine
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