ST. PAUL, Minn -- Top-seeded Edina will defend its Minnesota Class AA crown after knocking off No. 5 Eagan, 3-1, in the semifinals Friday at the Xcel Energy Center.
After putting up six goals in its quarterfinal win against Stillwater on Thursday, the Hornets needed only three to eliminate the Wildcats as Edina’s relentless forecheck wore Eagan down and left it without many quality offensive opportunities.
As they did against Stillwater, the Hornets got off to a quick start thanks to a beneficial bounce. Junior Dylan Malmquist, a Notre Dame commit, drove the puck towards the net, ending in a shot on goal that was subsequently poked in by an Eagan defender just 1:52 into the game.
For the rest of the period and through the second, Edina peppered Wildcats goalie Andrew Lindgren, but the junior stood tall, turning away a number of quality opportunities, including a highlight-reel glove save to rob Malmquist of a sure tally.
But, Edina finally did break through again with just 11 seconds left in the second period. Sophomore Casey Dornbach fed sophomore Garrett Wait, who carried into the zone and unleashed a twisted wrister from the top of the circles that beat Lindgren top right.
Given the energy that Eagan had spent battling to that point to keep it close, allowing a goal just before intermission proved to be a dagger.
The Wildcats did manage to briefly make it interesting late in the third, however. Senior Jack Jenson brought Eagan within one with just 46 seconds left in the game, but, with the Wildcat net empty, Malmquist responded seconds later with his second of the night to wrap up Edina’s second-straight title game appearance.
With the win, Edina will play to become Minnesota’s first back-to-back Class AA champion since Bloomington-Jefferson, which won three-straight from 1992-94. The Hornets, who also won it all in 2010, have now appeared in three of the past five title games.
Edina is now unbeaten in its past 13 games and will face the winner of Friday’s first semifinal game, No. 2 Lakeville North, in the state title game Saturday at 7 p.m.