LAKEVILLE NORTH (16-10-2) VS. EDINA (No. 2, 26-2), 11 a.m.
Scouting the Panthers: Roughly “one million different lineup combinations” later, Lakeville North coach Trent Eigner said the team found a winning formula. Keep forwards Blake Brandt, Shane Griffin and Spencer Schneider together, defend well and lean on the goaltending tandem of Will Johnson and Caleb Mayer. “We lost 14 players from last year so as coaches, we went back to figure out how to build,” Eigner said. The Panthers matured from a 3-6-1 team to start the season to one on a 7-1-1 surge now. “We got our footing and then we built some confidence,” Eigner said. Lakeville North tied Minnetonka in November and lost by a goal at Duluth East in December.
Scouting the Hornets: What do you give the team that has everything? Likely a state title. Forwards Demetrios Koumontzis and Sammy Walker are Mr. Hockey finalists. Defensemen Ben Brinkman and Jake Boltmann have committed to Minnesota. And don’t forget Lewis Crosby, Mason Nevers, Mike Vorlicky and Jett Jungels. The loaded lineup averages 6.4 goals per game. The Hornets are playing with urgency after missing the past two state tournament. They are 5-2 vs. four of the teams in the field. “They’re still pushing themselves,” coach Curt Giles said. “They still think they’ve got better games to show coming up here and I hope they do.”
David La Vaque