Eagan boys' hockey pushes for three

  • Article by: RON HAGGSTROM , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 8, 2013 - 4:27 PM

Hard work has led to a fast start for the Wildcats as they chase a third consecutive trip to state.


Eagan’s Will Peterson looked to pass against Bloomington Kennedy during a game Saturday. Eagan is 9-2-1 this season. Photo by KYNDELL HARKNESS • kyndell.harkness@startribune.com

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Mike Taylor will be the first to tell you "sometimes it's easier getting to the top than staying on top."

The Eagan boys' hockey coach has guided the Wildcats to back-to-back appearances in the Class 2A state tournament. His squad wound up sixth last year after finishing third in 2011.

"We have steadily built this program," said Taylor, who is in his 10th season at the helm. The Wildcats' only previous state tournament appearance came in 2006. "Once you build a tradition, more kids want to be a part of it."

Senior forward Cullen Willox is one of those kids. He has had a first-hand look at the growth of the program since his childhood playing days.

"Coming up through the program, we were always told 'hard work will beat talent if talent doesn't work hard,'" Willox said. "You have to work hard if you want to win."

Eagan has done just that this season. The Wildcats are 9-2-1. They have won at least 20 games in each of the previous three seasons.

"I thought we could do better than where we finished last year," said Willox, the team's second-leading scorer with 12 goals and 10 assists on the season. "We didn't accomplish what we wanted, and now we have a chip on our shoulder this year."

The Wildcats graduated six seniors who are either playing Division I or junior hockey from last year's squad. That group finished 25-5-1, with two of those setbacks coming in the state tournament.

"We had some good teams, and then that great group came through our program," Taylor said. "You don't get to coach classes like that very often."

Naturally, that led people to wonder how good Taylor's group would be in 2012-13.

"I knew our top end players would still be very skilled," Taylor said. "It was a matter of developing our secondary scoring, and adding some depth."

The Wildcats have seven players who have scored at least five goals. Senior forward Zach Glienke leads the team with 14 goals and 15 assists.

"We had to get better every day, and do it quickly because of how tough our schedule was at the beginning," Taylor said. "I knew if they bought into the team concept we could be pretty good, and they have done that."

Their best performance of the season came a week before Christmas. Eagan went into Burnsville and came away with a 4-2 victory over the preseason favorite to win the South Suburban Conference..

"Our kids played their most complete game of the season," Taylor said. "They have a lot of respect for Burnsville, and know what kind of effort it takes to beat them. It was a complete 51-minute effort."

It's the kind of effort Eagan plans on giving every game as it pushes toward making its third consecutive state tournament trip.

"Obviously, everybody was talking about Eagan last year," Willox said. "Everybody thought we would be done this year. We lost a lot of talent, but I thought we would still be fine. We're working hard to accomplish our goals."

Ron Haggstrom • 612-673-4498

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Oakland - J. Lester 7:07 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
Ottawa 7:00 PM
Carolina 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Tampa Bay 7:30 PM
Colorado 8:00 PM
Los Angeles 9:30 PM
San Jose
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM





question of the day

Poll: Is it the right move to replace Ron Gardenhire?

Weekly Question


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters