It was an epic night at Mariucci Arena as four top ten teams faced off in their respective section finals and two "instant classics" were played out. The #2 Edina Hornets opened the evening with a 3-2 win over the #9 Burnsville Blaze and the #2 Eden Prairie Eagles worked double overtime to top the #3 Wayzata Trojans by a 4-3 score.
The evening opened with the Edina (18-7-2) and Burnsville (19-5-4) vying for the section 2AA title. Jake Sampson fired a laser to the top left corner of the Burnsville net with 1:11 left in the third period snapping a 2-2 tie and lifting his Hornets to a 3-2 win and their 33rd state tournament appearance. His goal won a game in regulation that appeared destined for overtime.
The game began with a pair early goals as Edina's Lou Nanne fired home a puck from the mid slot area past the low blocker side of Burnsville goalie Bohdi Engum for the 1-0 lead at 5:59 of the first period. Jake Senta evened the score for Burnsville with a goal at 7:17 for the Blaze. The dynamic duo of Jace Childs and Mike Dockry were in on the assist.
The game settled into a defensive tussle through the rest of the first period and into the second as the score remained deadlocked at a goal apiece as the game headed to the third period. Engum was tested often and was his typical sterling self in goal keeping the Hornets at bay. After two periods, Edina held an 18-11 shots on goal advantage.
That mattered little as the Blaze took the lead early in the third period on a rare power play opportunity as Dockry registered the go ahead goal at :15 seconds of the period. Childs and defenseman Eddie Witchow picked up assists on the goal.
As the cliche goes, big players need to play big in the big games. Nobody was bigger than Edina's Steven Fogarty as he willed himself to a tally at 9:41 of the second period tying the game at two. That set up a surge of play for both teams as they exchanged scoring chances yet locked in defensively.
A clearing attempt was batted out of the air as the game clock neared one minute remaining in the period. Edina's Jake Sampson played the puck down to his stick, and with room to walk marched down the low slot area. As he closed in on the Engum he fired a rocket to the high glove hand side that went bar down as Engum could only drop the to butterfly and hope. It was a shot that one sees at the next level of play, and one that propelled the Hornets to their fifth straight state tournament as they search our their 11th championship.
A heart an soul leader, Dockry played with guts and courage as he helped put his team in position to advance to the state tournament with a goal and an assist.