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There are a hundred ways to kill a penalty. Be aggressive on the puck. Pack all four of your skaters within a stick’s length of the goal. Apply pressure only when the puck is down low. Apply pressure only when the puck is up high.
And on and on.
And then there is Minnetonka sophomore Bobby Brink’s way to kill penalties.
Brink’s method is completely unorthodox, a sort of don’t-try-this-at-home approach that is fun to watch, scary to defend and exceedingly effective when executed.
So what is Brink’s way? When he and longtime sidekick Jack Bayless are killing penalties, they aren’t just trying to prevent goals, they are devising ways to score them.
And sure enough, those were the orders from Minnetonka senior captain Luke Loheit on Saturday afternoon with the Skippers locked in a tight one-goal game with Chaska in a Class 2A, Section 2 semifinal at Braemar Ice Arena in Edina.
Minnetonka had been killing penalties for most of the second period when Loheit and fellow senior Joe Molenaar returned to the bench after another penalty killing session.
“When we got off, we told the guys to go get (a goal),” Loheit said. “And then Bobby goes out, and he gets one. It’s unreal.”
Brink’s shorthanded goal, his fifth of the season, helped vault No. 1-seeded Minnetonka to a 4-1 victory over No. 5 seed Chaska (18-9-0) and on to Wednesday’s section title game against Holy Family Catholic.
With Minnetonka (23-2-2), ranked No. 1 in Class 2A in the latest state coaches’ poll, clinging to a 2-1 lead and time winding down in the second period, Brink took a pass from Bayless as they crossed into the Chaska defensive zone. Brink coasted along the boards to the left of the Hawks’ goal and unleashed a shot that sailed over the right shoulder of goaltender Justin Bach.
Loheit didn’t go so far as to draw up the goal to be scored that way, but then there’s no drawing up goals when Brink and Bayless are the on the ice. That’s strictly a freelance situation.
“Brink and Bayless are a one-of-a-kind pairing that you can’t really find anywhere else,” Loheit said. “They do their own thing.”
Brink added a power-play goal late in the third period -- again after taking a pass from Bayless -- to complete the scoring and all but finish off the pesky Hawks.
“I thought some of Bobby’s best plays tonight were actually just killing the penalties,” Minnetonka coach Sean Goldsworthy said. “He won a couple of key faceoffs, one when we were down 3-on-5. He makes plays all over the ice.
"But he also has a really good feel for making plays when your team really needs it."
Brink, who shares the Minnetonka scoring lead with 49 points, spent a lot of extra time in the postgame handshake exchanging hugs and how-are-yous with Chaska coaches and players.
Brink played in the Chaska/Chanhassen youth system up until his second year of Pee Wees. That team finished third in the state, and Brink has remained close with several of his former teammates.
“It’s extra special playing against your friends,” Brink said. “I love playing against them.”
The Skippers took six penalties, four in the second period, and didn’t allow a power-play goal. Goldsworthy said that at one point, Minnetonka had allowed about as many shots as the number of penalties it had taken.
“Whenever you are playing anybody short a guy, it is going to be close,” he said. “Chaska has a great power play and is very well coached.
"We would have a tough time with our Bantam B team at Minnetonka if we were short a guy that many times.”
In the end, though, it was the former Chaska youth star who secured the victory. And despite all those lasting friendships, Goldsworthy said there’s no need to question Brink’s loyalty to the Skippers.
“He’s a Tonka kid, he bleeds blue and white, no doubt about it,” Goldsworthy said.
Bobby Brink, a sophomore who grew up playing Pee Wee hockey in Chaska, scored two goals against his former youth teammates as No. 1-seeded Minnetonka rolled to a 4-1 victory over No. 5 seed Chaska on Saturday afternoon in a Class 2A, Section 2 semifinal at Braemar Ice Arena in Edina.
The Skippers (23-2-2), ranked No. 1 in Class 2A in the state coaches’ poll, advance to play No. 2 seed Holy Family Catholic (23-3-1) on Wednesday at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis in the section championship.
Brink, who shares the Skippers’ scoring lead with 49 points (16 goals, 13 assists), scored a shorthanded goal with 48 seconds left in the first period, whipping a high shot from a bad angle along the boards over the shoulder of Chaska goaltender Justin Bach. That goal put the Skippers ahead 3-1, and Brink closed out the scoring with 2:31 remaining with a power-play goal.
Seniors Matt Koethe and Luke Loheit also scored for Minnetonka which led 1-0 after the first period and 2-0 late into the second when Chaska (18-9-0) got its lone goal from Ethan Benz to pull to within 2-1.
Special teams were crucial to the Skippers’ victory. Minnetonka played much of the second period shorthanded, when it was called for four of its six penalties. The Skippers held Chaska without a power-play goal on six opportunities and went 2-for-3 on the power play.
Bach, a backup who has played in place of injured starter Ben Urbanciz for most of the season, finished with 32 saves. Minnetonka goaltender Charlie Glockner made 18 saves.
The MN Hockey Hub poll is for entertainment purposes only.