Boys Hockey Class AA Semifinal: Minnetonka 4, Andover 1
Posted: Friday, March 10, 2023 - 10:42 PM
Minnetonka and Edina, longtime members of the tradition-rich Lake Conference, are about to add another chapter to their storied rivalry.
Top-seeded Minnetonka completed another championship pairing with Edina following a 4-1 victory over No. 4 Andover in the Class AA semifinals of the Minnesota State High School League’s Boys Hockey State Tournament on Friday, March 10 at the Xcel Energy Center. Junior forward Gavin Garry scored two to fuel carried the Skippers (28-2-0) to their 19th consecutive victory while dethroning the Andover, the Class AA champion in 2022.
Combined with Edina’s 4-1 victory over unseeded Cretin-Derham Hall in the earlier semifinal, it sets the stage for a third meeting with the Hornets this season. The Skippers are hoping to make it a three-game sweep. During Lake Conference play, Minnetonka recorded a 4-0 victory over Edina on Jan. 19 and then a narrower 1-0 win on Feb. 11.
They also have a history in the Class AA championship game. In 2010, Edina recorded a 4-2 win for the Class AA crown. In 2018, Minnetonka won the big-school championship with a 5-2 victory over Duluth East.
Minnetonka’s latest victory marked the second time the Skippers defeated the Huskies this season. The first came in a 4-1 win in the second game of the season on Nov. 26.
Minnetonka restored its two-goal advantage with 7:30 left in regulation on Garry’s second goal, a power-play tally with Andover standout Gavyn Thoreson, a senior forward, in the penalty box. Garry ended a sequence of crisp passing by flipping a one-timer up past Andover senior goalie Beau Altman. Junior forward Sam Sheetz later added an empty-net goal with 1:10 left in regulation to set the score.
Andover pulled to within 2-1 with 12:11 remaining in regulation time. The Huskies (22-7-1) seized the goal-scoring spark when Thoreson scored his 39th goal of the season. Senior forward Caden Casey assisted on the goal when he slid a cross ice pass to Thoreson, who was cruising in on Minnetonka senior goalie Kaizer Nelson unattended. Thoreson easily buried the shot into an open goal to give the Huskies renewed energy.
Minnetonka bumped its lead to two goals early in the second period on the 19th goal of the season from junior forward Gavin Garry. Senior defenseman Daniel Pasqua started the play from just inside the blue line by sliding a long shot on goal. With the shot en route to the goal, Garry redirected it and the puck found the opening on the far side of senior goalie Beau Altman.
The Skippers controlled play throughout the first period and outshot the Huskies 10-3. One of those final shots snapped a scoreless tie with just more than a minute remaining in the first period. Junior forward Hagen Burrows opened the scoring by starting, and then ending, an offensive rush. As he rushed down the right side, Burrows and put the puck on net. Junior forward Javon Moore then gathered in the still active puck and fired a shot from in front. Burrows was left unattended and he stuffed in a rebound for his 24th goal of the season.