Skippers move closer to Lake boys hockey title

It is hard to imagine a better high school hockey game than the Minnetonka and Edina boys teams played Saturday, Feb. 2, at Pagel Activity Center.
Minnetonka’s 4-3 overtime win moved the Skippers a step closer to the Lake Conference title, but more importantly, it showed that the Skippers could win a big game after facing more than their share of adversity.
The Skippers trailed 3-2 with less than a minute remaining in the third period. Edina had a man in the penalty box, and Skipper coach Brian Urick pulled his goalie, giving Minnetonka a 6-on-4 advantage.
Give Minnetonka a 6-on-4 and look out!
Jared Ridge scored with 28 seconds showing on the clock.
In overtime, with both teams tired but still scrapping, Max Coatta set up Minnetonka’s winning goal with a rush down the side of the rink. Tonka’s Tommy Vannelli and Tommy Brandabur were credited with assists on Charlie Huminski’s close-range goal.
“It was a back-and-forth game,” said Urick. “Edina took it to us in the first period, and we were fortuante to get out of there with the score tied 0-0. We got a little of our fire back in the second period.”
Coatta and Vannelli netted second-period goals for the Skippers, who improved to 5-0-0 in Lake play.
Hoops update
Among the spectators at the Minnetonka-Edina boys basketball game Friday, Feb. 1, at Minnetonka’s West Gym were Hopkins head coach Kenny Novak Jr. and his dad, Kenny Sr.
The Novaks saw a shootout as the visiting Hornets prevailed 81-73 behind 41 points from 6-foot senior guard Graham Woodward.
One fan sitting a few rows in front of the Novaks – obviously from Minnetonka – muttered, “We knew what Woodward was going to do, and we still couldn’t stop him.”
Kenny Novak Jr. saw things pretty much the same way.
“They tried everything against him,” he said. “They double-teamed him, but he got rid of the ball, and then Edina was playing four on three.”
Minnetonka had plenty of positives in Friday night’s game. For instance, sophomore guard Andrew Grosz scored the Skippers’ first nine points on three straight three-pointers. He finished with 17 points. Junior guard Luke Pettersen added 14 points. Senior guard Malcolm Moore had 11 points.
Novak’s team will play Minnetonka in a Lake Conference match-up at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, at Minnetonka’s West Gym.
“I don’t know if we can play with either of these teams [Edina or Minnetonka],” said Novak. “Minnetonka’s a tough match-up because they put so many good shooters on the floor.”
Big gym meet
Minnetonka High’s girls gymnastics team will host its fifth-annual Winter Wonderland Invitational, beginning at 11:45 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at Minnetonka’s East Gym.
Three Lake Conference schools, Minnetonka, Eden Prairie and Wayzata, are among the participants along with state Class A power Perham and Minneapolis Southwest.
Minnetonka head coach Samantha Howard, whose team went to state for the first time in 35 years last winter, said the Skippers are making steady progress as they anticipate competing in the Section 6AA meet at noon Saturday, Feb. 16, at Hopkins High School.
“The Winter Wonderland meet is a preview of our section meet,” said Howard.
A loss to Eden Prairie by less than a point kept the Skippers from placing second in the final Lake standings. Wayzata (4-0) was the champion. Eden Prairie finished 3-1 and Minnetonka was 2-2.
Destiny Cobbs is Minnetonka’s top all-arounder with a high score of 36.925.
“Destiny’s best event is the beam,” said Howard. “She is also very strong on floor and vault.”
Morgan Engel, another top girl for Tonka, has been battling injuries.
“We are easing her back into it so she will be healthy for the section meet,” said Howard.
Up and coming standouts for the Skippers include sophomore Hannah Gosen and ninth-grader Nikki Kvam.
“Both of them are adding difficulty to their routines,” said Howard.
Prime time
Minnetonka High’s girls hockey team repeated as the Lake Conference champ by beating Eden Prairie 3-0 Jan. 29 at EP Community Center.
Laura Bowman, Minnetonka’s senior captain, took ownership of the game, scoring all three goals.
“We play in such a great conference, and that always makes for an exciting January,” said Minnetonka head coach Eric Johnson. “Laura’s hat trick was obviously a shot in the arm. She creates offense every time she’s on the ice.”
While the win over Eden Prairie clinched the conference title, Johnson said a 4-0 victory over Edina the week before was just as big.
“In the eight years I’ve been here we had never won at Braemar Arena until this year,” said Johnson. “We had tied them over there three of the previous four years.”
Dance clinic
Minnetonka High’s competition dance team is offering a clinic for girls, ages 4-14, from noon to 3 p.m. on a non-school day, Friday, March 1. No previous experience is necessary.
Participants will cheer at a Minnetonka boys JV basketball game that evening.
The clinic fee is $50. To register, visit minnetonkacommunityed.org.

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