Class AA State Preview
Elevate to State
The Minnetonka Skippers are looking to emerge as state champs in a strong field that includes defending champion Edina and undefeated Andover.
Sunday, February 20, 2022
The rivalry between Edina and Andover in girls high school hockey is on the verge of becoming something akin to the fiercely competitive women’s rivalry between USA and Canada. As was the case in Beijing with USA and Canada once again meeting in the Gold Medal game, the defending state champion Edina Hornets and 2020 champion Andover Huskies are set up for another possible rematch.
Many would argue that the Olympic comparison falls apart when you consider the strength of the other teams in this year’s field. Minnetonka, the Section 2AA representative, was the fashionable early-season choice to win it all in 2022 and looks like they’re peaking just in time. Gentry Academy, Maple Grove and Burnsville have all won over 20 games and are playing at an extremely high level as the state tournament gets underway.
So while there are legitimate contenders beyond the “Big Two”, there’s little question that the Huskies and Hornets will both be extremely tough to knock off.
The undefeated Huskies are 6-0 this season against the state tournament field, outscoring those opponents 22-7. They surrendered just a single goal in three section tournament games and have allowed only 11 goals in their past 15 games.
Edina forward Hannah Halverson has six game-winning goals this season.
Photo by Arnie Hamel
Edina, with just two losses all season (one to Andover, the other to Minnetonka) has been nearly as dominant, giving up just 7 goals in their past 7 games. The Hornets were almost flawless in shutting down Benilde-St. Margaret’s in the 6AA championship game. And despite losing 3-2 to Minnetonka on Dec. 28 at the Edina Walser Holiday Classic, the Hornets paid the Skippers back with interest, beating Tonka twice in January; 2-1 and 3-1.
So while it’s totally plausible that Minnetonka or another team could step up and take the tournament title in what is a very strong field, there is a sneaking suspicion that the Hornets and Huskies may be destined for a third consecutive Saturday night showdown at the ‘X’.
Quarterfinal pairings (Thursday)
Raiders’ best win: 2-1 (OT) over Lakeville South in Section 1AA final.
Raiders’ toughest game: 1-0 loss to Mankato East on Jan. 25.
Sniper: Ayla Puppe (39-30–69)
Quarterback: Cambria Monson (7-31–38, 12 power play assists)
Gatekeeper: Maddy Malecha (19-5-3, 1.42 GAA, .944 SV%, 7 SO)
Edina defender Vivian Jungels leads the Hornets with 46 points. Photo by Arnie Hamel
Hornets’ best win: 3-1 over Minnetonka on Jan. 27.
Hornets’ toughest game: Shutout 4-0 by Andover at Hockey Day MN.
Sniper: Hannah Halverson (20-17–37, 6 GWG)
Quarterback: Vivian Jungels (16-30–46, 9 PPG)
Gatekeeper: Uma Corniea (21-2-0, 0.82 GAA, .960 SV%, 10 SO)
Edina looked nearly impenetrable in dominating Benilde-St. Margaret’s in the 6AA championship game, outshooting the Red Knights 34-17 and winning 4-1. With Uma Corniea in goal and Vivian Jungels gracefully orchestrating on both ends of the ice, Edina is in prime form, which is bad news for the Raiders.
Northfield is a great story, having finally earned some respect from the big city teams, winning 19 games, and shocking Lakeville South in the Section 1AA final. Northfield sophomore sniper Ayla Puppe has 39 goals, 11 on the power play, and 13 game-winners this season, and goalie Maddy Malecha has put the team on her back more than once, but the Raiders will have trouble keeping it close against the Hornets.
Janjet says: Edina 6, Northfield 1
Burnsville forward Sami Bowlby is averaging over two points per game. Photo by Paul Allen, Allen Photo Works
Blaze’s best win: Beat Rosemount 4-3 on Jan. 29 for 14th straight win.
Blaze’s toughest game: Lost 6-3 to Blake on Dec. 7.
Sniper: Sami Bowlby (17-18–35, in 16 GP)
Quarterback: Olivia Carlson (9-12–21, 34 PIM)
Gatekeeper: Addison Oettinger (12-4-1, 2.25 GAA, .911 SV%, 2 SO)
Junior forward Grace Sadura leads the Skippers with 21 goals. Photo by Leslie Johnson
Skippers best win: 8-1 over Hill Murray on Jan. 4.
Skippers toughest game: Upset 2-1 by North Wright County on Jan. 8.
Sniper: Grace Sadura (21-29–50, 6 PPG)
Quarterback: Ava Lindsay (19-34–53)
Gatekeeper: Sophia Johnson (19-6-0, 1.71 GAA, .916 SV%, 6 SO)
An intriguing opening-round pairing, with the powerful Skippers showing signs of reaching maximum velocity and the Blaze having lost just once since December 16. This match-up has the potential for lots of fireworks. The Blaze has Sami Bowlby back and averaging over two points per game. In addition, Katie Katzmarek has 34 goals and Zoie Dundon 51 points.
The Skippers certainly have the horsepower to win a state title, with an offense averaging over five goals per game, led by defender Ava Lindsay and junior forward Grace Sadura. With just a pair of one-goal losses to Andover and a win in three tries against Edina, the Skippers know they are capable of beating anyone.
Janjet says: Minnetonka 4, Burnsville 3
Andover forward Isa Goettl has 51 points for the undefeated Huskies.
Photo by Arnie Hamel
Warriors’ best win: Beat Moorhead 2-1 on Feb. 17 in Section 8AA final.
Warriors’ toughest game: Shut out 6-0 by Warroad on Jan. 15.
Sniper: Molly Hagelie (10-8–18)
Quarterback: Lucy Peterson (2-7–9)
Gatekeeper: Breya Sawyer (11-9-0, 2.00 GAA, .907 SV%, 2 SO)
Huskies’ best win: 4-3 over Minnetonka on Dec. 29 in Walser Edina Classic championship game.
Huskies’ toughest game: 3-2 win over Benilde-St. Margaret’s to open the season on Nov. 11.
Sniper: Ella Boerger (28-40–68)
Quarterback: Courtney Little (5-15–20, +53)
Gatekeeper: Courtney Stagman (24-0-0, 1.00 GAA, .948 SV%, 9 SO)
The Warriors upset the Moorhead Spuds 2-1 in the Section 8AA title game to advance to state. The Spuds had been on an 11-1-0 streak before BLF ended their season. But despite shocking the streaking Spuds, the Warriors will have a tough time in their state quarterfinal against the top-seeded Huskies.
Andover's Courtney Little is part of a defensive group that gives up just under one goal per game. Photo by Arnie Hamel
It’s hard to imagine Andover stumbling here. The Huskies haven’t lost a game in a year and lately have been clamping down on defense, allowing just one goal in three section games. Andover will get up early in this one and make it a tough night for the Warriors.
Janjet says: Andover 7, Brainerd 0
Maple Grove junior forward Stella Retrum has 57 points for the Crimson. Photo by Tim McBride Photography
Stars’ best win: 4-3 (OT) over Hill Murray on Feb. 17 in Section 4AA final.
Stars’ toughest game: Blanked 6-0 by Benilde-St. Margaret’s on Jan. 8.
Sniper: Cara Sajevic (49-26–75, 10 GWG)
Quarterback: The Gazdiks, JuliAnna and Jenessa (combined 18-48–66)
Gatekeeper: Zoe Laming (15-5-0, 1.81 GAA, .894 SV%, 5 SO)
Crimson’s best win: Beat Gentry Academy 3-1 on Jan. 6.
Crimson’s toughest game: Lost to Andover 6-2 on Dec. 28.
Sniper: Stella Retrum (31-26–57, 8 PPG)
Quarterback: Grace Erikson (4-13–17)
Gatekeeper: Dani Strom (18-6-0, 1.79 GAA, .938 SV%, 5 SO)
In what could be the best game of the day, the Crimson and Stars will play the rubber match of their season series. Gentry beat Maple Grove 4-1 on Dec. 9, and the Crimson won the rematch 3-1 on Jan. 6.
Gentry has Cara Sajevic, who’s next goal will be her 50th scored this season, while Maple Grove has dynamic forwards Stella Retrum and Bella Shipley. Both teams appear to be in top form, with Gentry riding an 11-game win streak and Maple Grove compiling a 12-2-0 record thus far in 2022. This is a great prime time pairing for the evening’s second game.
Janjet says: Maple Grove 4, Gentry 3
Edina 3, Minnetonka 2 (OT)
Andover 4, Maple Grove 2
Andover 3, Edina 1
Minnetonka 5, Maple Grove 3
Burnsville 4, Gentry 3
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