State Championship Triumph Gains Triple Crown for Skippers
On Saturday night, the Minnetonka Skippers earned their third consecutive State Championship, in the third game of the state tournament, defeating the Hill-Murray Pioneers 3-1 in three regulation periods. The feat was accomplished in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd, who came out to represent the Skipper Nation.
Having little time to recover from the previous night’s overtime marathon, many fans wondered if the Tonka girls would have the stamina to compete. They wasted little time in answering that question, scoring just over three minutes into the contest. Maggie Bazany, showing her signature speed, chased down a puck that had been dumped deep into Pioneer territory, and threw it back to Darby Flatley who deposited it into the net to put the Skippers up 1-0. Minnetonka dominated the first period, putting 12 shots on Hill-Murray’s goalie Alexys Woodward, while only allowing 5 on Minnetonka’s Sydney Rossman.
The Skippers seemed to be carrying the momentum into the second period, as Hill-Murray player Becca Zarembinski was assessed a tripping penalty at 1:28. But the power play did not connect and Tonka retained just a 1-0 lead. When Sydney Baldwin was tagged for high sticking at 7:15, the Pioneers got the chance they were looking for. On the power play, Jessica Bonfe slid the puck past Rossman after a scramble in front of the Skipper net, with assists to Zarembinski and Kate Smith. Minnetonka countered with a goal by Amy Petersen at 12:40 to put the Skippers back on top. Diana Draayer set her up on the play, picking up a loose puck in the Tonka defensive zone. She spotted a streaking Petersen at center ice and hit her with a long pass... Petersen was in all alone, beating Woodward on the low blocker side. The period ended with Tonka outshooting HM 10-4 and a score of 2-1.
In the third and final period, Minnetonka added a little padding to the scoreboard, once again about three minutes after the puck dropped. Coming out of a scrum on the right boards at center ice, Laura Bowman picked up the puck and skated down the right side, finding herself in a 2 on 1 with Petersen. She slid the puck over to Petersen, who sold the shot, then slid the puck back to Bowman who scored the Skippers third and final goal. Hill-Murray attempted to mount a comeback but was repeatedly pushed backed by the stifling defensive play of the Skippers, backstopped by standout goalkeeping by Rossman. The teams traded penalties throughout the rest of the period. HM’s Kenzie Prater was called for checking at 4:02; Draayer was whistled for slashing at 11:00; and HM’s Brittney Anderson ended the game in the penalty box, serving a minor for checking at 15:11. Neither team’s power play unit was able to convert, and the final score remained 3-1.
The victory distinguished the Skippers as the only high school girls hockey team ever to win three consecutive state championships. This trio of championships represents over a decade of hard work, training and preparation on the part of each player who has been part of the trilogy of teams, along with the support of countless coaches and parents who have guided, challenged and encouraged them. The championship was a spectacular farewell to this year’s seniors. And for the younger players there are only 244 days until try outs!
Many thanks to the Minnetonka band, the Minnetonka Skipper and to all of the fans who supported the team this year. The great turnout at the State tournament was a testimony to the power of community. It was thrilling to share the championship with all of you!
Special congratulations to Skippers named to the All Tournament team: Sydney Baldwin, Laura Bowman, Sidney Morin, Amy Petersen and Sydney Rossman. Also, to Head Coach Eric Johnson, Coach Adam Kragthorpe, and Coach Mo Hardwick many thanks for leading the team to a historic run of back-to-back-to-back championships. We couldn’t have done it without you!
State Champs! State Champs! State Champs!
History in the Making: Tonka Outlasts Lakeville North in OOOOOOT
When the Skippers stepped out on the ice on Friday night in the State AA Semifinal game, they had no idea what the night would bring. So far, the script had mirrored the 2011-12 playoffs very closely. The Skippers had given fans an edge of the seat win against BSM in the Section final. They had won their first game at State by a comfortable margin. The next chapter in last year’s story was a thrilling OT win over Lakeville North. With the same opponent facing the Skippers in this year’s semifinal, would history repeat itself in this year’s semis?
As it turned out, mere overtime wasn’t nearly enough, as Minnetonka survived a battle of epic duration, eventually overcoming the fourth-seeded Panthers 4-3. The Skippers scored to end the game after an unprecedented 113 minutes of play, including 6 overtime periods.
It all began innocently enough. As the opening puck dropped, it only took 29 seconds for Tonka to get on the board. Diana Draayer, off a pass from Laura Bowman, took the puck in on the left side and shot it between the legs of both the Lakeville North defenseman and goalie Cassie Alexander. Shortly thereafter, Maggie Bazany was sent off for bodychecking, but the Tonka penalty killers neutralized the man-advantage. Later in the period, with the Skippers pressing in the Lakeville zone, Sydney Baldwin dumped the puck hard into the left corner. The puck then rung all the way around the boards to the right hash marks where Sidney Morin grabbed it and quickly fired it into the net past three Lakeville skaters and Alexander, who apparently never saw the shot. But it wouldn’t be all smooth sailing for the Skippers. With just over a minute left in the first frame and Sydney Baldwin in the penalty box for tripping, Taylor Flaherty scored the Panthers’ first goal on the power play, with assists to Ashley Kloncz and Heidi Winieke. The shot from the left point was tipped in the back door past the sliding Minnetonka goalie Sydney Rossman. As time expired, Kloncz was whistled for tripping. As the teams headed off the ice for the first intermission, Lakeville held an 8-7edge in shots, while Tonka owned a 2-1 lead in goals and a power play opportunity heading into the second period.
Within the first minute of the second period, Hannah Behounek helped the Skippers extend their lead to 3-1, scoring a power play goal at :44. The assist was credited to Amy Petersen. But Lakeville North would not go quietly. The Panthers struck back at 7:34 with a goal from Christi Vetter, future teammate of Bowman and Petersen, assisted by Kloncz and Megan Skelly. Her one-timer from the left circle was blocked by Rossman but popped over her and into the goal. The Panthers then drew even with the Skippers on another power play goal at 16:05. Katie McMillan had been called for a cross-checking minor when Vetter notched her second goal of the game, tipping in a shot from Alexis Joyce with the second assist to Kloncz. The Panthers had once again outshot the Skippers 10-6 and the score was knotted at three goals apiece as the teams went into the locker rooms. As things turned out, it would stay that way for another 79 minutes.
Minnetonka tried to move into the driver’s seat in the third period, shortening the bench and putting increased pressure on Lakeville goalie Alexander. There was one penalty called in the period, as Lakeville’s Riley Tousignant was assessed a minor for interference. Tonka was unable to capitalize on the power play. Minnetonka had gained momentum, outshooting the Panthers 13-4 in the period but the score remained 3-3. With a feeling of déjà-vu, the two teams took a short break before beginning overtime play.
Last year, the Blue Army dispatched the Panthers in short order, with Amy Petersen scoring the game winner in less than two minutes. The Tonka faithful were hopeful for another quick victory this year as eight minutes was put onto the game clock. Tonka had a chance to end it when Vetter was sent off for tripping at 3:52 of overtime, but again, the power play failed to convert. The first overtime ended with a 6-3 advantage in shots for the Skippers, but the score deadlocked. The two teams were sent to the locker rooms, the ice was cleared, and a full 17 minutes was put up on the clock.
The rest of the game remains mostly a blurry memory for everyone except the video camera. Momentum shifted back and forth, with close calls and near misses on both ends. Whatever trouble Alexander may have experienced in the first minutes of play was a distant memory, as she seemed to have padlocked the Lakeville North goal mouth shut. Likewise, Minnetonka’s Rossman repelled any opportunity generated by the Panthers with stellar play and quick clearing of the puck by the Tonka defense. Two overtimes, then three and more. Playing time alternated between eight and 17 minutes, every other period, with the ice being cleared before each extended segment of play.
The Minnetonka band and crowd of Tonka fans was faithful, staying til the end, remaining loud and proud, enthusiastically cheering on their Skippers as the time of day slipped past midnight and into Saturday morning. (And for that, we thank you!) Before the fourth overtime, the student section relocated itself around the tunnel to encourage the team as they took the ice for the seventh time. They did so again before the sixth overtime period, joined this time by parents of the players. Perhaps it was just the lift they needed. Or maybe it was fate.
Four minutes into the sixth overtime Laura Bowman, driven by determination and will, carried the puck up the right side of the ice into the Lakeville zone. As Petersen drove to the net, Bowman fired a hard shot which Alexander couldn’t quite corral. When the puck popped up out of Alexander’s control, it hit Petersen square in the chest, ricocheting into the back of the net. The goal put Minnetonka on top 4-3 in the 113th minute of play... the total elapsed time had been equivalent to over two full regulation games.
With a total of nine periods played, the box score looked more like that of a baseball game. According to the MSHSL, the game set the record for longest game in girls’ hockey state tournament history (113:29). Records were also set for shots by one team in an overtime game (Minnetonka, 63) and most stops in one game (Lakeville North, Cassie Alexander, 59). It was also reported that TV ratings for the game were higher at 1am than they were at 9pm. Twitter was buzzing with commentary about the game and at one point #MSHSL was a trending topic.
The only question that remained: could the Skippers do it again? The State championship awaited them less than 18 hours after the conclusion of the semifinal game, while Hill-Murray’s players had enjoyed a restful evening after ending their game around 7:30pm. The final game, scheduled for 7pm Saturday, would be here soon enough... and the Skippers wanted to write their own historic final chapter.
Off to the Races, the Skippers look Rosey!
Wearing their blue and white silks like their hero, Secretariat, the Skippers entered familiar territory at the Xcel Energy Center. Their opponent would be the Section 5AA Champs, the Irondale Knights, who had a great run in their section playoffs and were looking to be the thorn in Tonka’s side. Although the odds were in the Skippers favor, they were not going to look past this game. Both teams were called to the starting circle, the puck dropped, and the game was on!
The period started off with each team of fillies were trying to set the pace. With 12:20 on the clock, Hannah Behounek would be called for tripping. The penalty kill unit came onto the ice, refusing to be handicapped by the Knights having the man advantage; the Skippers stopped any attempt to alter the score. With three minutes furlong off the clock, Hannah Behounek would scratch the score sheet again as she shot the puck from the blue line past the post and into the clubhouse net. Amy Petersen had set up the play off a pass from the railing. The second goal came when Diana Draayer found herself in the high slot and one-timed into the net off a pass from Laura Bowman and Amy Petersen. The Skippers were not finished as down the backstretch of the first period, Maggie Bazany sprinted ahead of the pack and scored the third goal for Tonka. As each team retired to their respective locker rooms, the Skippers were ahead 3-0 and shots on goal of 9-4.
The second period found the track in somewhat sloppy conditions as the Skippers weren’t running their kind of race. A penalty by Darby Flatley at 12:09 gave the Knights another look at the Tonka net. Again the penalty killers stood strong as the Skippers defused the Knights. Near the end of the period, Tonka had the opportunity to tally another goal on the power play. Amy Petersen lit up the goal lamp off a pass from Sidney Morin. Tonka was leading 4-0 but the shots on net were not in their favor, having been outshot by Irondale 10-9.
The last period of this derby was a more of an eased pace for the Skippers. Although shots on net were similar for the Skippers to the other periods, Tonka was using more of its stable of players to keep the Knights backed up in their own pasture. Early in the period Irondale did get called for tripping, but the Skippers were not successful to adding to their lead. The game clock wound down, Tonka found itself in the winner’s circle and had earned their first crown of the tournament!
Congratulations to Sydney Rossman in earning another shut out in her high school hockey career! Next up for the Skippers will be Lakeville North who the team faced last year in the semi-finals.
Tonka Apprehends Public Enemy Number One
Section Final: Minnetonka vs. BSM 2/15/13
Skippers Send Buffalo Back Home to Roam
Section Semi-Final vs Buffalo 2/13/13
The Compass Doesn’t Always Point North
Section Quarterfinal vs North Metro 2/9/13
Skippers Don’t Cave Against the Bears
Minnetonka vs. Blake 2/2/13
Ridin’ Out the Storm Hawk
Minnetonka vs. Chaska-Chanhassen 2/1/13
JV Girls Settle for 2-2 Tie in Regular Season Finale, and an Ode to the JV Seniors
JV vs. Chan-Chaska 2/1/13
Seniority Rules in Clash of State Champions
Minnetonka vs. Breck 1/30/13
It’s a Banner Effort over Eden Prairie
Minnetonka at Eden Prairie 1/29/13
JV Spots Too Many To EP Too Early
JV vs Eden Prairie 1/29/13
Minnetonka at Edina 1/26/13
JV Girls Battle Hornets to Satisfying 3-3 Tie
JV at Edina 1/26/13
Skippers Sail to Win over Centennial
Minnetonka at Centennial 1/24/13
JV Girls Victorious Against Centennial
JV at Centennial 1/24/13
Overtime's Not a Charm
Minnetonka at Wayzata 1/22/13
JV Skippers Look Sharp in Saturday Tilt Against Hopkins
JV vs Hopkins 1/19/13
Hopkins Proves to be a “Royal” Pain
Minnetonka vs Hopkins 1/19/13
Skippers Relish in the "Garden of Eden" Prairie
Varsity vs Eden Prairie 1/12/13
JV Girls Lose Fourth One-Goal Game in Row
JV vs. Eden Prairie 1/12/13
Amidst Many Changes, Skippers Come Together to Work the "Bugs" Out!
Minnetonka vs Edina 1/8/13
Edina Stings Tonka JV Early
JV vs Edina 1/8/13
Offensive Power Outage Leads to Lost Weekend for Tonka JV
JV vs. Hopkins and Wayzata 1/4 & 1/5/13
Trojans Try But in the End the Skippers Weren't Horsing Around!
Minnetonka vs Wayzata 1/5/13
For a Worthy Cause, Tonka gets "Ryl-ed" up!
Minnetonka vs. Hopkins 1/5/12
Eagles Soar at Skippers' Expense
Minnetonka vs Eden Prairie 12/29/12
JV Extends Little Southern Hospitality to Northern Guests in Consolation Championship
Holiday Tournament - JV vs. Cloquet-Esko-Carlton 12/29/12
In General Fashion, Skippers Outrank Another Private at EP Tourney
Holiday Tournament - Minnetonka vs BSM 12/28/12
JV Girls Show Their Mettle in Comeback Victory Over Benilde
Holiday Tournament - JV vs BSM 12/28/12
Skippers Put a "Hault" on Cretin-Derham
Holiday Tournament - Minnetonka vs Cretin Derham Hall 12/27/12
Tonka JV Girls Fall 5-3 in Hard Fought Battle
Holiday Tournament - JV vs. Cretin Derham Hall 12/27/12
Tonka Knocks the Wind out of the Tornadoes
Minnetonka vs. Anoka 12/20/12
Tonka JV Victorious Against Anoka
JV vs Anoka 12/20/12
Tonka JV Rides Roller Coaster to Victory Over Benilde
JV vs. Benilde-St. Margaret's 12/18/12
Not A Good Knight For The Skippers
Minnetonka vs. Benilde-St. Margarets 12/18/12
Tonka JV Girls End Up and Down Week on a High Note
JV vs. Buffalo 12/15/12
Buffalo Chips Away But Skippers Prevail
Minnetonka vs. Buffalo 12/15/12
Tonka Shoots Over AND-OVER!
Minnetonka vs. Andover 12/13/12
Tonka Shuts Down Eagan’s “Wolfe Pack”
Minnetonka vs. Eagan 12/11/12
Tonka JV Tames the Wildcats
Minnetonka JV vs. Eagan 12/11/12
The Blue Army Takes that Hill-Murray
Minnetonka vs Hill Murray 12/8/12
Tonka JV Girls Look Sharp in Victory Over Hill Murray
Minnetonka JV vs. Hill Murray 12/8/12
Even Through Fog, the Skippers See Stars!
Minnetonka at Duluth 12/1/12
Northern Exposure Suits Minnetonka JV Girls Well
Minnetonka JV at Duluth 12/1/12
All Is Fair in Love and War-road
Minnetonka at Warroad 11/17/12
Tonka Takes Away the Rams’ “Ro-Jeau”
Minnetonka at Roseau 11/16/12
Northern Trip a Mixed Bag for Tonka JV
JV vs. Roseau and Warroad 11/16/12 and 11/17/12
Tonka “Polishes” Apple Valley
Minnetonka at Apple Valley 11/13/12
Skippers Begin Season In The Crosshairs
Preseason Outlook 2012