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Class AA Boys Hockey State Championship: Edina 2, Chanhassen 1

Cretin-Derham Hall takes third; Centennial wins consolation

Posted: Saturday, March 9, 2024 - 10:26 PM

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Chanhassen entered the 2024 Minnesota State High School League’s Boys Hockey State Tournament as a fan favorite of many. The No. 2-seeded Storm were easy to like with a storybook-type run with their first state tournament berth, and following two important victories, were on the threshold of completing an incredible journey.

Playing with rookie-type enthusiasm, Chanhassen scored the first goal of the Class AA championship game on Saturday, March 9 at the Xcel Energy Center, but later, learned an important lesson.

Edina, a state tournament mainstay with 37 appearances in its rich tradition that also includes Edina West and Edina East, knows all about the veteran traits of winning a championship. The Hornets remained poised in the anxious moments and seized the slivers of opportunity when they arose. It’s a pathway taken to record more than a dozen boys hockey state championships over the past seven decades.

The top-seeded Hornets weathered the Storm, both literally and figuratively, and added to their legacy with a 2-1 victory at the Xcel Energy Center in front of a record crowd of 20,346. Junior defender Robby Hoch and senior wing Bobby Cowan scored goals in the third period to lead the Hornets (26-4-1) to their first state championship since 2019 and 15th overall.

Despite being outshot by a spirited Chanhassen (25-6-1) attack, the Hornets remained stout with a defense anchored by senior Joe Bertram, who finished with 33 saves.   

Edina sealed its latest championship when Cowan scored on a power play with 6:55 remaining regulation time. Cowan, scoring on Edina’s 21st shot, gathered the puck just below the blue line and surveyed the zone. He waited patiently and didn’t rush the initiation of a scoring play. After skating in a few strides, he let go with a wicked wrist shot that beat Chanhassen senior goalie Kam Hendrickson to the right side. It was the 24th goal of the season for the University of St. Thomas recruit and third of the tournament.

Just more than three minutes into the third period, Hoch found the equalizing goal on a shot from the point.

Chanhassen scored the game’s coveted first goal with 6:50 remaining in a second period that the Storm dominated. Senior wing Tyler Smith, who has signed with Minnesota-Duluth to play football, ended a long wacky sequence when Edina wasn’t able to clear the puck from its zone. Chanhassen was tireless in keeping scoring opportunities alive, be it with just a poke of the puck or a clearing to the corner to restart.

During one of the mini-surges, senior defenseman Ben Curtis gathered the puck just inside the blue line and let go with a shot. Camped just to the left of Bertram was Smith. As the puck sailed his way, Smith gave just a slight re-direction of the puck and it skittered past Bertram, just inside the far post.

Edina’s latest state championship gives the school four this season, joining Girls Soccer, Girls Hockey, Boys Swimming and Diving. The Hornets have a state-best 205 team state championships.

Third place: Cretin-Derham Hall bounced back from a semifinal loss to Chanhassen with a 6-3 victory over Grand Rapids in the third-place game. Senior forward Chuck Owens and sophomore forward Max Anderson had two goals each to pace the Raiders (19-11-1). Cretin-Derham Hall built a 5-2 lead after two periods and maintained the three-goal advantage as

Consolation: Senior forward Heath Nelson scored with 44 seconds remaining in regulation time to lift Centennial to a 3-2 victory over Elk River/Zimmerman in the consolation final at Aldrich Arena in Maplewood. He finished with a goal and two assists as did senior center Harper Searles in helping the Cougars (21-8-2) bounce back from a quarterfinal loss to Cretin-Derham Hall. For Elk River/Zimmerman (19-11-1), senior  defender Cooper Anderson had tied the score at 2-all just more than a minute before Nelson’s game-winner.



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