Class AA Girls Hockey State Championship: Andover 5, Minnetonka 4
Posted: Saturday, February 26, 2022 - 9:20 PM
Disappointment was staring at the Andover High School Girls Hockey team for the second consecutive season late Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. The top-ranked and undefeated Huskies had been down this path before with an upset loss at the hands of Edina in the 2021 Class AA championship game. This time, it was Minnetonka, another Lake Conference powerhouse that threatened to dash Andover’s title hopes with a big-school championship on the line.
Cue to senior forward Sara Kaiser for a dramatic finish that chased away any lingering memories of a year ago and gave the Huskies a championship that they have craved more than anything this season. She scored with 1 minute, 40 seconds remaining in regulation to snap the tightest of tension in a 5-4 victory over Minnetonka in the big-school championship game at the Xcel Energy Center.
Just 10 seconds into a 4-on-4 situation with both teams occupying a spot in the penalty box, Kaiser emerged from a scrum along the far boards and secured the puck for a drive toward the goal. As she circled in front of Minnetonka senior goalie Sophie Johnson, she whistled a short-range wrist shot that sailed into the goal. It set off a celebratory frenzy that was deafening. After a brief scoring review, the goal was confirmed and the celebrating started again.
It is the second state championship for the Huskies (30-0-0) in the past three seasons. In 2021, Andover was 21-1-0 and the Class AA runner-up to Edina. In the past three seasons, Andover has compiled a 79-3-0.
Minnetonka (24-5-0) was attempting to win its fourth Class AA crown. The Skippers had a three-peat of titles from 2011-13. In 2015, Minnetonka was the Class AA runner-up.
Andover, which led early, had to play catch up throughout the final period and a half.
Andover forged another tie at 4-all just 10 seconds into a power play early in the third period when junior forward Madison Brown lunged with a one-timer as she neared the end line. The flip of the puck sailed over Minnetonka senior goalie Sophie Johnson.
Minnetonka took its second lead of the contest behind a power-play goal by junior forward Ava Lindsay with 4:28 left in the second period. It was the second goal for Lindsay, who also scored late in the first period when the Skippers began a surge from a two-goal deficit.
Andover, facing its first deficit of the game, climbed into a 3-all deadlock when a persistent Ella Boerger, a junior forward, was able to finally scored on a stuff shot after taking three whacks
Minnetonka erased a two-goal deficit with three unanswered goals, including two that were 25 seconds apart early in the second period.
Sophomore forward Kendra Distad gave the Skippers their first lead on a rush that began along the boards on the left side. With a defender in tow, she angled in toward the net and flipped a backhand shot on goal. The shot hugged under the crossbar and landed behind junior goalie Courtney Stagman. Just 25 seconds earlier, junior forward Grace Sadura tied the score on a wicked wrist shot from between the circles. As the Minnetonka fans cheered wildly in appreciation, Sadura took a bow in reply.
Junior forward Ava Lindsay began Minnetonka’s three goal spree on a power-play goal with 1:23 remaining in the first period.
Andover wasted little time in opening the scoring when junior forward Ella Boerger beat Minnetonka senior goalie Sophia Johnson with just 15 seconds elapsed. The Huskies bumped the lead to two goals in the closing minutes of the first period when junior forward Isa Goettl cashed in on a pass from junior forward Madison Brown.
It was Andover's third victory over Minnetonka during the 2021-22 season. The Huskies had a 1-0 win on Nov. 13 in the second game of the season and then had a 4-3 victory on dec. 29.