Last fall the most dominant line in the ultracompetitive Upper Midwest High School Elite League consisted of Edina’s Demetrious Koumontzis and Mason Nevers along with Blaine’s Will Hillman.
This winter during the high school season, a strong case could be made for Edina’s forward unit of Nevers, Sammy Walker and Jett Jungels being the state’s best.
Two leagues, two seasons, two unstoppable forward units. One commonality: Nevers.
The son of former first-round major league baseball draft pick Tom Nevers, Mason scored twice as part of the quick-strike Edina unit that racked up five goals and six assists in Wednesday’s 7-1 Class 2A quarterfinal victory over Lakeville North.
Merely keeping up with the speedy Jungels and the sprinter-on-ice Walker, especially Walker, presents its challenges.
“Definitely,” Nevers said. “I’ve got to get a head start.”
Tom Nevers, also drafted in the NHL by the Pittsburgh Penguins, played in the 1987 and 1989 state tournaments for Edina. He missed playing in the 1988 state tournament, when Edina won a championship, because of a broken wrist.
“I asked him about the tournament, and he said, ‘You are going to hear a lot of boos, but it will provide a spark,’ ” said Mason, who has 24 goals and 38 assists. “We like the boos. It gets us going.”
A memorable first
Minnetonka opened its 6-2 victory against Hill-Murray with two goals on as many shots. The second came off the stick of sophomore defenseman James Miller — his first varsity goal.
“When he came back to the bench, I think I hit him on the head about 1,000 times,” fellow defenseman Grant Docter said. “We hang out a lot off the ice and we shoot a lot together and I was always wanting to see him get that first one so it was awesome.”
Run, run, run away
Per Minnesota State High School League rules, the clock doesn’t stop in the third period when a team leads by six or more goals. Such scenarios are common this season for Edina, which has been on the winning side of 12 such games.
The Hornets’ 7-1 victory over Lakeville North was the follow-up to an 8-1 bludgeoning of Wayzata in the Section 6 final.
A rare feat in the solid Lake Conference: Edina put all four of its conference rivals into running time this season, including No. 1-ranked Minnetonka in an 8-2 rout in late January.
LaMaster named state’s top defenseman
Duluth East senior Luke LaMaster, who has committed to play college hockey at Wisconsin, won the Reed Larson Award that goes to the state’s top senior defenseman.
Entering the state tournament, LaMaster had four goals and 39 assists in 28 games.
Lakeville North’s Garrett Daly, St. Thomas Academy’s Chase Foley, Minnetonka’s Andrew Hicks and St. Michael Academy’s Garrett Sandberg were the other candidates playing in the state tournament.