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Minnetonka slips past Edina and into state title game

Skippers overcome stifling Hornets defense to pull out 2-1 semifinal win

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Minnetonka players celebrate their win against Edina Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

ST. PAUL – To score two goals in three periods is typically not a major accomplishment, unless you’re playing Edina.

Minnetonka accomplished that feat, an achievement that had been done only four times this season, and the result was a 2-1 win over the second-seeded Hornets in the Class AA semifinals Friday night at the Xcel Energy Center.

Regardless of the how low the goal total was, Skippers coach Tracy Cassano was confident her team was going to win.

“We knew Edina has solid defensemen and they’re a solid team,” Cassano said. “But we just felt confident in our game. We bring a lot of speed and we have a lot of dynamic scoring threats. I think there were a lot of times we showed we were the better team.”

The Skippers (24-6-0 overall) advance to play either No. 1 Andover or No. 5 Gentry Academy in the Class AA championship game at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center. That game was played later on Friday.


Edina boasted a state-best 0.79 goals against average per game after its 7-0 quarterfinal win over Northfield for its 13th shutout of the year – tied for the best in the state.

All of Edina’s defensive numbers aside, the Skippers had beaten the Hornets in one of three previous meetings this season, so the fact that Minnetonka drew first blood Friday, maybe shouldn’t have been a surprise.

Lindzi Avar scored just past the 11-minute mark on a wrister from the top of the right circle to give the Skippers a 1-0 lead and send Edina to the locker room with a deficit for just the third time this season.

Senja Leeper added a goal with 3:44 to play in the second period.

The freshman forward grabbed the puck on a bounce off the end boards, pulled to the side of the net and stuffed it between Edina goalie Uma Corniea’s left skate and the post a fraction of a section before the officials blew the play dead. The puck squirted over the goal line into the net, but the goal was waved off.

The officials reviewed the play after a lengthy discussion with Minnetonka coach Tracy Cassano and the review resulted in a good goal.

“I was confident they were going to count the goal,” Cassano said. “The referees told me [Corniea] covered the puck and a second stick that poked it and I said ‘there was no second stick’. It was clear as day.”

Added Edina coach Sami Reber: “It was hard. Frustrating. Sometimes you get the bounces, sometimes you get the puck luck, sometimes you get the calls. That’s hockey so you have to play through it.”


The Hornets got the boost they had been looking for when the rebound from a Jane Kuehl shot came free to the left of the Skippers net and Edina freshman Tori Anderson dove at the puck to knock it home with 8:34 left in the third. It was Anderson’s second goal of the season.

Less than a minute later, Edina was back on its heels, looking at another two-goal deficit when Skippers junior forward Grace Sadura was hauled down on a partial breakaway and awarded a penalty shot, which incensed Reber on the Edina bench as she made her argument the infraction didn’t merit a penalty shot.

“I thought it was a tripping penalty, no doubt in my mind,” Reber said. “The explanation I got [for awarding a penalty shot] was that it made [Sadura’s] scoring chances less.”

Corniea poke-checked the puck away from the Minnetonka captain before she could get the shot away. Corniea finished with 20 saves.

Edina poured on the offense for the last eight minutes of the third period but couldn’t convert on any of its three power plays and senior goalie Sophia Johnson made 12 of her 23 saves in the third period.

“If we had 10 more seconds, I think we could’ve bounced one in, but we didn’t have the bounces tonight,” senior captain Jane Kuehl said.

The Hornets (24-3-0) will face Gentry Academy in the third-place game at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center.


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