There's unlimited space in the Intermet world, you say? How about following two of the state's best players in one of the biggest games of their lives, the Section 6AA final on Wednesday at Mariucci Arena.
One is Mario Lucia, Don's son. He is a junior at Wayzata, the state's No. 3 rated team in Class 2A. The NHL's Central Scouting Bureau rates him the state's top prospect for the 2011 NHL draft which will be at the X in April.
The other player being followed is Eden Prairie's Kyle Rau, who has signed with the Gophers. As of now, he is the only player going from high school to the U next fall, but he's a good one.
Before going to the play-by-play on these two talented icemen, here's a quick impression after watching both for the first time.
Rau: He's fast. Always skating to the net. Always involved in the play. Logs a lot of ice time. Seldom seems to have his shot block. Gets knocked down a lot, but gets up fast. Reminds me somewhat of Jacob Cepis because he is is small. quick and resilient.
Lucia: Likes to hang around in front of the net. Hard to knock down. Calm with the puck. Missed the net as often as he hit it. Hits people.
Each scored a goal in this game, but Rau's meant more. It was the game-winner as Eden Prairie won 4-3 in overtime. Here's what each player did:
Mario Lucia, No. 22, was introduced as the starter for Wayzata at left wing during pregame ceremonies. Kyle Rau, No. 7, was the starting center for Eden Prairie and took the opening faceoff Wednesday in the Section 6AA final.
Rau won the draw when the game finally started, at 8:35 p.m. It was supposed to be an 8 p.m. start. Hah.
Noticed Lucia trying to establish position in front of the EP net. He's a big body, 6-2 1/2, 185 probably still growing taller and will put on weight..
Eden Prairie was the home team, so Eagles coach Lee Smith had the last line change.
Lucia's lines and Rau's lines were not matched up against each other all that much this period.
Lucia shot wide from the slot, rapped his stick on the ice in mild irritation. Rau comes down the left side, puts on a burst of speed and creates a lane for himself to shoot near the extended goal line.
Lucia makes a big check along the boards.
Rau draws a tripping penalty as he drives to the net. Despite the penalty, he still manages to get off a weak backhand.
On the ensuing power play for EP, Rau stays on the ice and Lucia comes out to help kill it.
Lucia clears the puck out of his zone and seconds later almost has a short-handed chance out front, but he can't control the pass to him with about 3:30 left in the opening period.
Defenseman Dana Molenaar dumps Lucia at mid-ice.
Lucia's and Rau's lines are out together again.
A Wayzata player levels Rau near his offensive blue line. He comes off the ice a bit shaken. A trainer or assistant coach comes over to talk to him. Puts a comforting hand on his back. Rau's OK.
Lucia is called for tripping with 51 seconds in the first period. Rau has a shot from the top of one of the circles on the power play.
The first period ends with EP leading in shots 8-6.
EP starts on power play for the first minute plus. Rau takes a shot from a tough angle, deep on the right side. Lucia still in penalty box.
Rau drives to the net from the left side.
Lucia has a shot blocked three minutes into the middle period. He is still working to get position down low.
EP scores. It's D-man Dana Molenaar on a shot that goes off end boards, deflects to side of net and goes in off goalie at 2:42. It's an unassisted goal.
Lucia has another shot blocked on a rush. A little later, his blue jersey is in the middle of three white EP jerseys in front of the Eagles' net,
Lucia's shot from the slot hits an EP defenseman. Then the puck is going the othe way and Luc Gerdes scores on a shot from the left side that deflects in off Wayzata goalie Aaron Dingman. Molenaar gets one of the assists.
Rau misses net on shot, but then he is back again on a rush. He's stopped at the doorstep.
Lucia makes nice centering pass to Tony Cameranesi, his center.
Tyler Klein of Wayzata scores to cut EP's lead to 2-1 at 12:49 of second period. He lifted a shot over goalie Andrew Ford who was down on the ice. Lucia was part of th scramble and a D-man was on the ice near him,
Rau has a chance at the side of the net. He tries a shot deep on the side. Then he circles from behind the net, around the right post and tries a wraparound. Goalie appears to freeze it, but another swat by Rau knocks the puck in. The referees wave off the goal, apparently the whistle had blown.
Mason Bergh of EP scores atr 1:33 to make it 3-1. He got to a puck lying in the crease before the Wayzata goalie could cover it with his glove.
Lucia scores at 8:14 for Wazyata, bringing the Trojans with 3-2. His goal came from the top of the left circle. The quick wrister found the far upper corner. There was a defenseman a few feet away from him, but he appeared calm and poised.
Lucia finished the season with 35 goals and 26 assists for 61 points in 30 games. He was a plus-40. He had six shots on goal this game and one minor penalty.
Teammate Bryan Tabery tied the score at 3-3 at 9:21. His goal came on a rebound.
Rau is knocked down at the side of the Wayzata net. He pops right up.
Defenseman Nick Seeler of EP checks Lucia in the corner and the hit creates a loud noise.
Lucia shoots wide. Later on same shift, he puts the puck between a defender's legs and the nifty move frees him for a shot. EP goalie Andrew Ford has to make a nice glove save.
Cameranesi of Trojans take the puck off Rau' stick. EP is looking tired.
Rau loses draw in Wayzata end. EP takes a penalty with 33.5 seconds left in the third period.
Rau and Lucia are both out to start the seven-minute overtime. Rau sets up a teammate for a shot in the slot in the second minute.
Rau wins faceoff in the Wayzata end and takes a shot on net that is chest high. Aaron Dingman grabs the puck.
Lucia shoots wide. Lucia has chance with the puck with 15 seconds. Can't control the puck. At last he does get shot off -- after the horn.
The ice is resurfaced before this overtime, which will last 17 minutes if nobody scores.
Rau calls for the puck near the Wayzata goal. He does that by banging his stick on the ice several times in quick succession.
Rau tries a wraparound. It looked like he saw a defenseman diving at him, but he still tries a shot hoping it bounces off the defenseman into the net.
Lucia takes a shot off-target.
Rau does a solo breakout and gets a shot on the other end. Rau makes a rush and shoots.
Rau feeds David Rath in front of the Wayzata net. No shots results.
Rau is pushed into net by an EP player, the net dislodges with him still in it. His rebound shot doesn't go in.
Lucia shoots wide off a faceoff in the other end.
Rau take a shot on a rush.
David Rath of EP takes a shot, Rau tries to score on a rebound. It is stopped but the puck squirts out. Rau reaches for the puck and puts it in the open far corner at 9:19.
Rau, 5-9, 160, now had 39 goals and 40 assists for 79 points in 31 games. He is a plus-30
If he seemed active in this game, he certainly was. He had 12 shots on goal.
EP goes into the state tournament with a 21-5-2 record, Wayzata's season ends with a 20-6-2 mark.