This year, all four teams brought top-end talent to the 32nd Annual Edina Holiday Classic at Braemar Arena in Edina, Minnesota this past weekend.
This tournament was played out almost as though it was a bracket, as the final two teams to play on Saturday night were both undefeated until the third period came to a close. The Edina Hornets, Eden Prairie Eagles, Elk River Elks, and the Grand Rapids Thunderhawks are each invited every year to take part in the tournament, which Edina has dominated since it's birth.
Eden Prairie 3 vs Elk River 1
A two-goal, third period allowed the Eagles to take the very first game of the tournament. Both Eden Prairie forward Steven Spinner and defenseman Luc Snuggerud had a multi-point night scoring a goal and adding a helper before the game ended.
Edina 4 vs Grand Rapids 3 OT
Grand Rapids held a nice 3-1 lead until midway through the second period when Edina scored 3 unanswered goals, including Matt Masterman's overtime game-winner that gave the Hornets the 4-3 triumph. Miquel Fidler scored the goal that started Edina's tear and also assisted in each and every goal that Edina scored throughout the night, capping the night off with an impressive four points. Edina peppered Hunter Shepard with 64 shots, the in a game throughout the tourney.
Eden Prairie 7 vs Grand Rapids 4
If you were to take away the first period, the game would have been even. The Eagles came out flying, scoring three goals in the first period, which gave them enough cushion to go back and forth with Grand Rapids until the game was over. Eden Prairie forward Steven Spinner scored two goals and added three helpers, while teammate Luc Snuggerud had two goals for four points. All in all, Dean Blais looked to be happy with his three recruits that played in this game, as Avery Peterson’s two goals brought the combined total of all the future Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks points to 11 in just one outing.
Edina 6 vs Elk River 3
After a close game with Grand Rapids, the Hornets came out firing. Kieffer Bellows, Cullen Munson, Miquel Fidler, Matt Masterman, and Dylan Malmquist all had multiple points for the Hornets, which goes to show how powerful this team can be. Although by the end of the game, Elk River finish with more shots on goal with 34 to Edina’s 29.
Grand Rapids 3 vs Elk River 2
In a battle between arguably the best goaltenders in the state, this was bound to be a great game from the get go. Grand Rapids scored each period, while Elk River couldn’t find a hole in Hunter Shepard’s goaltending and the Thunderhawks went on to defeat the Elks in a 3-2 triumph. In my opinion, this was my favorite game of the entire tournament.
Edina 4 vs Eden Prairie 2
Until this point, both Eden Prairie and Edina had yet to lose a game, which could only mean that this was going to be for all the marbles. Despite taking five more penalties than the Eagles, the Hornets were able to score at least once in each period and hold of their rivals in a dramatic 4-2 triumph.
This tournament was littered with talent. I know I stated that above, but seriously, it’s almost an understatement.
I’ve had a chance to see the majority of these athletes on multiple occasions this year, whether it was during the Upper Midwest High School Elite League or at games so far this year. With that being said, here’s my take on a couple kids with some great talent.
Tyler Nanne – D – Edina High School
This kid is unreal. He moves the puck very cleanly up the ice and is quick to make decisions, which usually end up mistake-free. Even though the senior finished the weekend without a point, his presence was made known throughout each game Edina played. Nanne is easily one of the best offensive-defenseman in the state. His future is bright; keep an eye out.
Miquel Fidler – F – Edina High School
With an obnoxious four goals and four assists, only one other person managed to score as many points as Fidler throughout the tournament. Besides leading every other person in points, as surprising as it sounds, Fidler was a primary reason that Edina was able to slip by Grand Rapids in overtime at Thursday night, but did so quietly! An obviously important factor in this Edina team, Fidler played a role in 57% of Edina’s total scoring throughout the tournament; impressive to say the least.
Jake Jaremko – F – Elk River High School
Will always be the hungriest guy on the ice. As a junior this season, I’ve watched Jaremko try and barrel through 3 or 4 people in front of him just to try and get a shot off. Even trying to follow up with a rebound if he manages to get by the entire team.
Matt Kiersted – D – Elk River High School
I had an opportunity to watch Kiersted play earlier this year and I wasn’t as impressed, but boy did he put on a show this weekend. Even as Elk River struggled, Kiersted was able to show skills that talented seniors have. As a sophomore he’s got some developing to do, but the future is bright with this one.
Kieffer Bellows – F – Edina High School
I’m still trying to figure out if Bellows hit a massive growth sport between the Elite League season and the start of the varsity season, because I never remembered him being as big and rugged as he is now. The sophomore is just that: big and rugged with a shot that I wouldn’t want to lay down and try to block as well. I have a feeling that if Bellows continues to develop as well as he has been, his future will be very, very bright.
Hunter Shepard – G – Grand Rapids
I’ve never been too much of a physics guy, but Shepard defies two things that I learned: first off, this kid has the ability to get down and up faster than I can get down and secondly his reaction time is literally comparable to spider man. Very impressed with this kid, feel free to check out the statistics below.
Mac Berglove – G – Elk River
Berglove’s numbers weren’t exactly something I would brag about, but this isn’t the first time I’ve had the opportunity to see this kid play between the pipes. Not to throw anyone under the bus, but I’ve seen Berglove play with a solid defense in front of him, and it’s about as entertaining as it gets. He can see the puck very well, and can move laterally as well as anyone in the league. If you get a chance, venture out and watch this kid make some saves.
Here’s a small list of a few other players to keep an eye out for as the season progresses after the Holidays…
- Cullen Munson – Edina High School
- Garrett Wait – Edina High School
- Matt Masterman – Edina High School
- Connor LaRoque – Grand Rapids High School
- Jonah Bischoff – Grand Rapids High School
- Ben Monley – Grand Rapids High School
- Chase Springman – Elk River High School
- Reggie Lutz – Elk River High School
- Marc Sullivan – Eden Prairie High School
- Colton Schmidt – Eden Prairie High School
The Tourney's Top Scorers
|Steven Spinner||F||Eden Prairie||3||5||8||Nebraska-Omaha|
|Luc Snuggerud||D||Eden Prairie||3||3||6||Nebraska-Omaha|
|Avery Peterson||F||Grand Rapids||2||3||5||Nebraska-Omaha|
The Tourney's Top Tenders
|Goalie||Team||Shots||Saves||Goals Against||Save %|
|Hunter Shepard||Grand Rapids||151||138||13||.914|
|Jake Gerdes||Eden Prairie||86||78||8||.907|
|Mac Berglove||Elk River||80||69||11||.863|
What We Learned?
Going into the tournament, Elk River was ranked ?, Eden Prairie was ranked ?, Edina was ranked ?, and Grand Rapids….
In case you missed it the first two times, this tournament was deep with talent. I cannot stress that enough. In my opinion, Edina is just too deep not to be ranked higher than where they are. Not only do the Hornets have talented skaters that go as far as three lines in, but also they’ve been playing solid defensively.
Eden Prairie and Elk River should still be among the top teams, and yes I know Elk River was winless throughout the tournament. They just have too much talent to be placed out of the top 10. Which brings me to my last team – Grand Rapids. The Thunderhawks took Edina into OT, but have nowhere near the depth of the Hornets and fell. Despite past losses, this is a top-ten calibered team, and they proved it this past weekend.