Edina showed off their offensive and defensive strengths in win over Minnetonka.

The top-seeded Minnetonka Skippers and the fourth-seeded Edina Hornets meet again 

By: Jackson Boline

The two rivals face off for their third matchup, but this game means much more than just another win or loss. The Skippers won the first meeting early in the season, and the Hornets got their revenge later in the year, but the winner of the tie-breaking game will advance and play for High School hockey’s greatest prize. Both teams have superstars on offense, defense, and in net, and they have plenty of experience playing under the bright lights of the Xcel Energy Center. 

 These two teams even played each other in last year’s third-place game, when Edina won 2-1 over the Skippers. With a fairly similar roster to last year, these girls have battled against each other many times in their High School careers. 

Minnetonka battled past Maple Grove 2-1 in 

the quarterfinal round to advance to this Semifinal matchup. Edina shut out Northfield’s high-powered offense 5-0 to get to this point. 

The Hornets’ relentless offense buzzed past Minnetonka 3-2 in potentially the game of the tournament thus far.

The first period was filled with action, but not with goals as Skippers’ Layla Hemp and Hornets’ Reese McConnell both stopped all seven shots they faced. Each team exchanged some chances, but nothing too much of a high-danger chance, so a scoreless and even first period had the score deadlocked at 0-0.  

Edina was the first to find twine, getting a good bounce that got behind Hemp, and Lorelai Nelson found it and stuffed it into the net. The Hornets took a 1-0 lead at the 4:44 mark of the second period, and that’s when things heated up at The X.

Hannah Halverson had two assists in the Hornets’ win.

The Hornets added to their lead when Edina’s leading scorer Hannah Halverson showed off her great puck-handling and found Cate McCoy for a highlight reel-looking goal, and a 2-0 lead. Just moments later though, the Skippers finally got on the board. Bella Finnegan saw what Halverson did on her assist and she showed off some skill of her own. Finnegan moved her way into the high slot after a toe-drag move and fired it into the net, getting Minnetonka back within one goal at 2-1. After two periods, Edina led the Skippers 2-1 and led in shots 26-16. 

The Skippers didn’t take long to tie the game up at 2-2 in the third period when Kendra Distad backhanded the puck past McConnell. The goal was set up by another highly skilled play by Finnegan, who stick-handled her way into the slot and dropped it for Distad. 

 

Edina didn’t take long to answer back with a goal of their own. Whitney Horton moved along

the boards deep in the corner when she sent a puck behind the back of Hemp and found the breezer of Brenna Prellwitz which deflected the puck into the net. The play was under review for an extended period, but the goal stood and Edina held a 3-2 lead with over 14 minutes left in the final period.

Like she’s done all year, Hemp was excellent in net for the Skippers, keeping Minnetonka in the game and giving them a chance to come back. The Gold Medal winner stopped many point-blank shots including a huge 2-on-1 split save with the glove keeping the score at 3-2 at the moment. 

Layla Hemp stopped 33 Edina shots for Minnetonka in net. 

After Hemp was pulled for the extra skater, the Skippers held good offensive zone time and got good chances on the net. This included a shot from the point beating Edina netminder McConnell but hitting the crossbar. Minnetonka was inches away from tying the game, but hockey is known as the game of inches for a reason. Edina held on to win 3-2 over rival Minnetonka. 

McConnell, after an eight-save shutout against Northfield, stopped 21 of 23 for the Hornets. Minnetonka’s Hemp stopped 33 of 36. 

Edina will play for a state title against Hill-Murray tomorrow inside the Xcel Energy Center at 7 p.m.

Claire Christopherson chasing the puck with two Hornets forecheckers

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