Edina players piled on their goalie, Connor Girard, after they defeated Burnsville to advance to the state tournament Wednesday night. Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune
Pucks from point-blank range that Edina players fired on Bodhi Engum weren’t going in, and anything from an angle seemed to hit a pipe, the side of the net or Engum’s glove.
So as Wednesday’s Class 2A, Section 2 boys’ hockey championship game at Mariucci Arena dragged on, the Hornets continued to flick wrist shots on the Burnsville goaltender. And just in the nick of time, it paid off.
Jake Sampson’s goal from above the hash marks with 71 seconds remaining in the third period was the difference, sending the defending big-school champion Hornets back to the state tournament for the fifth year in a row after a 3-2 victory over the Blaze.
“Someone said it was a nice goal, but I don’t know,” said Sampson, still awestruck by his third goal of the playoffs some 20 minutes after it happened. “I just threw it at the net.”
That wound up being the theme. Lou Nanne made it 1-0 5:59 into the game on a snap shot from beyond the circles, a play Engum would likely want to have back given how well he played otherwise.
“He’s an awfully good goaltender,” Edina coach Curt Giles said of Enhum. “Anything you throw at him, you just have to take his sight lines away.”
Nanne’s goal was at about the same spot Steven Fogarty scored from with 7:19 to play in the third after Burnsville took a 2-1 lead just 15 seconds into the final stanza.
The rest of the way, however, it was all Hornets. Edina outshot Burnsville 12-6 in the third period.
“The kids pushed hard at the end,” Giles said. “They didn’t get down after getting scored on in the beginning and just hung with it. I give them a lot of credit. This was a big gut-check for us.”