A stirring rally in the closing minutes had the pro-Bemidji crowd roaring with approval, and a third-period injury to Mr. Hockey Award favorite Dylan Malmquist only added to Edina's mounting concerns.
Despite all the high-decibel drama, the outcome was nothing out of the ordinary for the two-time defending state champion and No. 2-seeded Hornets. They hung on for a 6-4 Class 2A state quarterfinal victory over the Lumberjacks (23-4-2) on Thursday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
The Hornets gave up two goals in the final 2 minutes, 7 seconds, including one by Bemidji junior Josh Lusby with 55 seconds left that cut Edina's lead to 5-4. But it turns out the Hornets (25-1-2) will be just fine — and maybe even better — for the experience.
Malmquist, Edina's all-time leading scorer who has signed with Notre Dame, was hit in the back of his left leg by a blistering shot from teammate Garrett Wait early in the third period and didn't return. Malmquist was not at the postgame media session, but said via text after the game: "Just a bruise, feels fine now. Will be back [Friday]."
The Hornets weren't particularly battle-tested entering the state tournament. Edina won its two section playoff games by a combined 17-3 score, including a 10-1 thrashing of Burnsville in the championship.
"It's a good thing to have going into the next game, knowing this is how the playoffs are played," said Edina senior forward Matt Masterman, who scored twice against the Lumberjacks. "We got a taste of that."