Chanhassen’s bench erupts as the final buzzer sounds. LPH PHOTO BY JEFF ANDERSON

Earl scores twice, Hendrickson stops 44 as Chanhassen upends Tonka’s title hopes

by Bryan Zollman

A pair of first-period goals by Chanhassen’s Andy Earl, and a heroic effort in goal by Kam Hendrickson lifted the Storm to a 2-1 upset victory over previously undefeated Minnetonka.

The win was Chanhassen’s 23rd on the season and they are now 16-1 in their past 17 games. For the Skippers it was their first loss in 47 games dating back to Jan. 2023 when they lost to Wayzata.

Chanhassen got on board in the first on a power play when Gavin Uhlenkamp slid a pass to Earl in the high slot. Earl one-timed it past Minnetonka goalie Hunter Bauer for a 1-0 lead.

Minutes later Earl raced down the right side and tried to center a pass in front when it deflected off a skate and into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.

But there was still plenty of time for the juggernaut offense of the Skippers to exude their speed and skill to get back in the game. They benefitted from two power plays, but both were effectively killed off by Chanhassen’s penalty kill unit, which is tops in the state at a 94 percent clip. By contrast, Minnetonka had the best power play in the state hovering just over 42 percent heading into Thursday’s contest.

Gavin Uhlenkamp and John Stout, both Mr. Hockey finalists, battle for the puck in Thursday’s Section 2AA final.

The period ended with Chanhassen holding onto the 2-0 lead. In the second, Minnetonka put the pressure on with 20 shots, but Hendrickson was on his game, at one time stifling Skipper Mr. Hockey finalist Hagen Burrows on a breakaway and turning away all 20 shots he faced.

In the third Chanhassen stuck with their game. While protecting the middle of the ice in the defensive zone, they held a strong forecheck and did not resort to a dump and chase mode, applying pressure throughout the period.

Chanhassen’s Tyler Smith battles Minnetonka’s John Stout in Thursday’s 2-1 win for Chanhassen, who will advance to the state tournament

With 2:50 left in the game Minnetonka pulled Bauer for an extra attacker and scored a minute later when John Stout finally beat Hendrickson. They kept Bauer on the bench for the remainder, but Chanhassen’s defense kept the pressure to the outside for the most part and Hendrickson was a wall to anything that came his way. As the final seconds ticked away Chanhassen players rushed the glass where their student fan base was ecstatic to greet them. While Chanhassen has had a great season, nobody was expected to dethrone the Skippers as the reigning champions.

Minnetonka finishes their season 25-1-2, a remarkable campaign considering the schedule they play. Chanhassen improves to 23-5-0 and will likely be a top-2 seed in the state tournament along with Edina.

Chanhassen (2AA) joins the Hornets (6AA), Grand Rapids (7AA), Elk River/Zimmerman (8AA), Rochester Century/John Marshall (1AA), and Centennial (5AA).

Hill-Murray or White Bear Lake (4AA) and Cretin-Derham Hall or St. Thomas Academy (3AA) will join the field tomorrow night.

Andy Earl scored both goals for Chanhassen who will make their first state tournament appearance as a program LPH PHOTO BY JEFF ANDERSON