Andover vs. Blake

7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 1

Andover and Blake have been recognized as two of the top teams in the state since Day 1 of this hockey season.

Our Top Game of the Week features their matchup on Friday, when each has a chance to gain some serious momentum heading into the section playoffs.

Andover (20-3, 15-0) hasn't lost a game since the start of January, winning eight straight and shutting out five opponents. The Huskies' last blemish came in a 4-3 overtime defeat to Blake in the Schwan's Cup Gold Division championship on Dec. 28.

A victory in the rematch with Blake could boost the confidence of an Andover team, ranked No. 4 in the Class 2A state coaches' poll from Jan. 23, looking to win a second consecutive Class 2A, Section 7 title. Last season, the Huskies won 23 games and reached the state tournament, where they lost 2-0 to Eden Prairie in the quarterfinals.

What has helped Andover win 20 games again this season? Aside from an offense that generates more than five goals per game, the Huskies defense has allowed a mere 1.35 goals per game. Goaltender Cassidy Stumo has helped shut down opposing offenses and has a 17-2-0 record in net with a .925 save percentage.

A victory for Blake on Friday could fuel the Bears through what’s likely the most competitive section in the state — Class 2A, Section 6, which includes No. 2-2A Edina and No. 7-2A Wayzata.

The No. 1-2A Bears didn't get a chance to play in the state tournament last season after falling to Edina 4-2 in the section championship.

Blake (20-2, 5-0) has powered its way to the top of the state rankings thanks to a dominant offense, which averages more than five goals per game.

Four Bears have tallied more than 40 points. Lily Delianedis, a junior committed to Cornell, has emerged as one of the state's leaders with 55 points, including 30 assists.