Prep hockey teams live dream outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium

  • Article by: DAVID LA VAQUE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 11, 2014 - 9:42 PM

The weather cooperated and the ice was good for five critical prep games Saturday.

hide

Minnetonka’s Sara Holmgren, center, chased a loose puck as Eden Prairie’s Anna Johnson, left, and Lauren Boyle defended on the play during a outdoors game at TCF Bank Stadium.

Photo: JIM GEHRZ ‘ • jgehrz@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Heaters under players’ benches. Spent hand-warmer packs on the tunnel floor to the locker room. Eye black and extra layers.

Outdoor hockey at TCF Bank Stadium required unique preparations for the 10 teams playing in the Hockey High School Faceoff. The Minnetonka and Eden Prairie girls’ teams played in the first-ever high school game at the stadium, offering Skippers defenseman Sydney Baldwin another memorable moment in a stellar prep career.

“I can’t say I ever played in a football stadium before,” said Baldwin, an integral part of the Skippers’ past three Class 2A state championship teams. “We rallied around the opportunity to play here and all came out and played a great game.”

Trailing 1-0 since midway through the first period, Eden Prairie rallied to tie the score with 51 seconds left. But Baldwin got the final word, netting the unassisted winner as the Skippers won 2-1 in overtime.

Beyond being memorable for players, all five games Saturday were critical to conference title chases. Postseason position was also at stake. The Minnetonka boys’ team posted a 4-1 upset over No. 7 Benilde-St. Margaret’s, important to seeding in Section 6 in Class 2A.

“It was probably the biggest win of the season for us,” said junior defenseman John Schuldt, who scored the last of the Skippers’ three goals in a pivotal second period. “This was a dream to play in. It was a little hard to sleep [Friday] night knowing we got to play on a bigger stage.”

Players modified their attire as temperatures hovered around freezing much of the day. Turtle necks and long-sleeve shirts were worn under the shoulder pads of players who normally sport T-shirts.

Minnetonka girls’ assistant coach Maureen Hardwick, who grew up skating outside on the “Outlaw Rink” in her native Warroad, found it tougher to stay warm as a spectator.

“It got a little chilly down there after the first period, but then they cranked up the heaters,” Hardwick said. “I was ducking down the whole time trying to warm up.”

Eden Prairie goaltender Whitney Padgett, a self-described “freeze baby,” donned a stocking hat over her helmet. Minnetonka’s Jacob Berger and Benilde-St. Margaret’s Jalen Long, Padgett’s peers between the pipes, did likewise.

The NHL-sized (200 feet x 85 feet) refrigerated ice held up, requiring only occasional, minor maintenance between periods. The moderate air temperature did not tax the cooling and heating chemicals pumped through approximately 17 miles of tubes under the ice. Official were concerned about the quality of the ice earlier last week when the mercury plummeted.

Meaningful games and more seasonable weather were not enough to entice larger numbers of fans. Thin crowds throughout the day sat in the stadium’s maroon and gold seats under blankets or clutching coffee mugs while some opted to stand in the concourse — which was covered in ice-melting salt.

Good seats will be much harder to come by for the stadium’s next outdoor hockey games.

The Hockey City Classic on Jan. 17 features two-time defending NCAA women’s hockey champion Minnesota playing Minnesota State Mankato and the Gophers men’s team facing Ohio State. More than 40,000 tickets have been sold to the state’s first outdoor collegiate hockey event.

Although Benilde-St. Margaret’s lost its second outdoor hockey game in as many seasons, Red Knights’ forward Spencer Naas said his fondness for playing in the elements endures.

“Outdoor games are always a blast,” Naas said.



 

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
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
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
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
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
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
Army
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
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
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
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
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
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(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
Clemson
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
Colorado
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
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
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
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
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
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do Thursday in Green Bay?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close