Guess who’s back?! Back again. Sota’s back. Tell a friend. Guess who’s back, guess who’s back, guess who’s back, guess who’s back, guess who’s back, guess who’s back, guess who’s back?!
Now, did you read that while doing your best imitation of Eminem? No? Okay, go back and start over but do it like Eminem this time. Then come right back here. I’ll wait….
See? That was way more fun, right? Good job. And, yes, there are 7 “guess who’s back” at the end of the verse. I thought that was excessive when I typed it so I went back and listened to it. I logged into the blog site yesterday and noticed that it has been 2 years since the last post! Dang. Doesn’t seem like that long. But you know what? Not much has changed. Andover and Edina are still jockeying for the top spot.
Andover just keeps chugging along. Lose Maddie Kaiser two years ago? No problem. Lose the younger two Hemp sisters? Eh…no biggie. 27-0 so far this year. Seems that the State Title is theirs to give away. And they are doing it with a roster that, for all intents and purposes, stays intact for a run in 2023. Sara Kaiser is the only one they lose to graduation this year that had any material impact. Their top 3 point getters are coming back in Boerger, Brown, and Goettl. They have two 9th grade forwards that are studs – Hannah Christenson and Maya Engler. And their D corps?! So good. And so young. Wait…is it corps or core? English is hard. How do people learn it as a second language? Impossible. There. Their. They’re. Huh? Seriously. Back to the D cor….unit. Top 5 D consist of four 9th graders and a 10th grader. Goalie Courtney Stagman is back for one more season. She currently has a 1.00 GAA.
Edina is 25-2 on the season thus far. Their two losses come by way of Minnetonka, who they will likely see in the semifinal, and Andover on Hockey Day Minnesota. I think the perception is that Edina’s offensive production isn’t as prolific as it has been in the recent past. But you know what? That’s not true. GPG in 2020 was 4.20. Here we go again with the English. Is it ‘was’ or ‘were’? GPG is singular but its an acronym for Goals Per Game and goals is plural. Ugh. I am going with ‘was’. GPG in 2021 was 4.27 and GPG in 2022? 4.15. So there you go. Offense is just fine. The forward unit was led in scoring by sophomore Hannah Halverson. They will lose Lindborg and Keuhl but they have some youngsters on the team who will fill that void namely 9th grader Whitney Horton and 8th grader Loelai Nelson. How good do you have to be to be an 8th grader on the Edina Varsity?! Ellie Chapman deserves a mention. She is one of the most underrated players in the state. Their D unit on the other hand is not fine. It is way better than fine. Vivian Jungels is the best player in the state and should be a lock to win Ms. Hockey. I thought her and Lily Hendrickson were the best D pair in the state last year. This year Vivian could be paired with an orange construction cone and the two of them would still be in the conversation for best D pair in the state. And then you have Uma. She has one name like Madonna or Pele. She will be going for her 27th state title.
Minnetonka is very good. And a little controversial. We all know why so we don’t really need to get into it. 22-6 on the year so far. Key wins over Edina, Hill Murray (by 7 goals!) and Holy Family. Losses to Andover x 2, Edina x 2, NWC, and Wayzata. They are the third seed in the State Tourney but 4th in the Lake standings. Go figure. Scoring is very balanced. 20 skaters scored at least a point this year and 12 of them had double digits. Ava Lindsay has led the way with 53 points so far and Grace Sadura has 50 points. Sophia Johnson finally got her time in the net and had a very respectable .916 SV% and is a Senior Goalie of the Year candidate. Tracy Cassano takes on her old team in the first round – Burnsville. It most likely will not be much of a game. Burnsville was the second best team in a conference that is down.
The first round matchup that I am most anticipating is the game between #4 seed Maple Grove and #5 Gentry Academy. The seeding could’ve just as easily been flipped. But it really doesn’t matter, does it? It might actually. Could something like last change be the difference in this game? Maybe. It will be a tight one. MG and Gentry split the series during the regular season. Gentry won the first match up 4-1 and MG won the second game 3-1. MG’s Stella Retrum has 31 goals. That is more than 2x more than the next person on her team. Gentry’s Cara Sajavic has 49 goals. That is 3.5x more than the next person on her team. You can see that each team in highly dependent on one person for scoring. The state quarter final game will come down to which team keeps the other team’s top scorer off the score sheet.
Andover has the easier path to the final. I am not sure they will be contested during the first two round. The other side of the bracket is not quite as clear. Edina sees Maggie Malecha and Northfield in the first round. But I believe Edina gets out of there with a convincing W and should face Minnetonka in the semifinal. This will be a fantastic matchup. Minnetonka’s high scoring offense vs. Edina’s stingy defense. I think Edina prevails for yet another Hornets vs. Huskies final.
Edina 3. Andover 2.
Until next time. Maybe. Or maybe not. We will see…but I know what you’re thinking. “Two years off and that’s all the better you can do?!” I totally agree with you. I’m a little rusty. What can I say?