The gauntlet has been thrown down forcefully, even if one could argue that neither team has done it intentionally.
After Saturday's results, when defending girls' hockey Class 2A champion Andover danced all over a pretty fair Centennial squad to the tune of 10-0 — the Huskies' seventh shutout in nine games — and Edina smothered Eden Prairie 3-0, it's become obvious that a matchup between the two is the game the girls' hockey world wants to see.
Both teams sport 9-0 records, are deep in talented skaters, play shutdown defense and have top-notch goaltending. No. 1, 2A Andover has outscored opponents by the startling margin of 76-2 (which is a compliment to Elk River/ Zimmerman junior Maddy Christian, the only player to score a goal against the Huskies, and she's done it twice — in different games).
Edina's results aren't quite as arresting, but the No. 2, 2A Hornets have surrendered only six goals, have blanked six opponents and have already beaten the No. 3 and No. 4 teams in Class 2A, Hill-Murray and Minnetonka.
Since they are not scheduled to play each other this season and they exist in different sections (Edina in Section 6, Andover in Section 7), the only place such a meeting could happen is in the state tournament. Adding to the potential of a clash of titans is the fact that they met for the Class 2A championship last year, with Andover winning 5-3.
Obviously, with the uncertainty of COVID and the unpredictability of young athletes, the anticipated showdown may not happen. But, with all due respect to other top teams in Class 2A, girls' hockey fans can be excused for getting a little excited over the potential of this one.
Elsewhere in prep sports this week:
Stewartville at Minnehaha Academy, 6 p.m. Minnehaha Academy was scheduled to host a team from Houston, Tenn., but its opponent was snowed in and couldn't make the trip. Stewartville, featuring 6-9 forward Will Tschetter, has agreed to fill the spot. Minnehaha's Chet Holmgren is the top recruit in the state (and nation) and Tschetter, a Michigan recruit, is considered No. 2 for the Class of 2021. To top it off, the game will be televised on ESPNU.
Tartan at South St. Paul, 7 p.m. South St. Paul (9-0) needed OT to beat Tartan in their first meeting, 70-69. Fresh off a 30-point pummeling of previously undefeated Mahtomedi, always strong Tartan will be a measuring stick for the Packers.
Shakopee at Eastview, 7 p.m. South Suburban Conference supremacy at stake. Both are tied for the conference lead with 9-0 records.
Maple Grove at Elk River, 7 p.m. Maple Grove puts its 9-0 record on line. Or does Elk River put its 9-0 record on the line? Either way, someone's going to be less-than-perfect by the end of the night.
Hopkins at Minnetonka, 7 p.m. Tonka nearly upset Hopkins on Jan. 26, losing 63-62 after holding a 13-point halftime lead. You can bet Hopkins (current winning streak: 70) hasn't forgotten.
Edina vs. Benilde-St. Margaret's, at St. Louis Park Rec, 7 p.m. No.5, 2A Benilde-St. Margaret's is coming off a 1-0 statement victory over No. 4, 2A Minnetonka and hopes to use that victory as a springboard against the Hornets.
Hill-Murray at Breck, 7:30 p.m. It's a rematch of a game played Jan.26, won by the host Pioneers 3-1. Breck, the three-time defending Class 1A champs, has not lost since.
Benilde-St. Margaret's at Eden Prairie, 7 p.m. Can the stingy Red Knights slow down the Eagles' potent line of Jackson Blake, Carter Batchelder and Drew Holt?