On a Minnetonka roster of astute hockey minds, senior Hagen Burrows is known as "The Professor."

His seven teammates with Division I college plans, opposing coaches and players alike rave about Burrows' intelligence on the ice.

"He really finds time and space well," Chanhassen senior goaltender Kam Hendrickson said. "You notice he will be shifting his body position and moving his stick, and those things make it challenging to stop him."

Hendrickson repeatedly stopped Burrows and company in a 2-1 upset of the mighty Skippers, a previously undefeated defending state tournament champion, in the Class 2A, Section 2 final Thursday. The unexpected loss, however, doesn't define Burrows' legacy. He is the Star Tribune's Metro Player of the Year.

Burrows, a right winger, scored 19 goals and led Minnetonka in assists (38) and points (57) while playing a 200-foot game and competing at a high level. Off the ice, "The Professor" boasts a 4.1 grade-point average.

Hagen Burrows statistics

Burrows, who has signed with Denver University, remains in the running for the Mr. Hockey Award to be bestowed Sunday after the state tournament. The 6-2, 165-pound forward won't be alone on the banquet stage at the St. Paul RiverCentre. Teammates John Stout and Javon Moore are among the 10 finalists as well.

"He's got a nose for the net," Stout said. "He puts himself in position to score every single shift."

In a rare case of continuity, Burrows played three years with Moore on the left wing and Gavin Garry at center. But the line was too effective to switch. The trio moved the puck like a secret among friends.

"Everyone talks about scoring and points, but where I think our line is most effective is that we really don't get scored on," Burrows said. "We take defense so seriously, and we love playing other teams' best lines. We feel like we can nullify them and be tough to play against. We all have our different strengths and different weaknesses, and we pick each other up."

As a junior last season, Burrows led Minnetonka to the Class 2A tournament championship with team highs in goals (24) and points (50). He scored the first goal in all three of the Skippers' victories in St. Paul and added a late goal to force overtime against Hill-Murray in the quarterfinals.

An assistant captain this winter, Burrows helped carry coach Sean Goldsworthy's message about rising expectations. Minnetonka's good must get even better.

"Coming into the year, we always talked about how we're not protecting anything this year — because we don't have anything," Burrows said. "We're still getting better, even after last year. But it's a new team and we're trying to go take something that we want."

Chanhassen coach Sean Bloomfield included Burrows on his All-Metro ballot and showered the young man with nothing but praise.

"In my opinion, [Burrows is] the most likely player from Minnetonka to play at the NHL level. Has the size and skating combination, with a knack for scoring that stands out on a forward group that scores a lot," Bloomfield said. "He plays a consistent game and needs to be kept in check every second he is on the ice."