The epicenter of state big-school girls’ hockey spans a stretch of about 8 miles. If you’ve driven on the south and west portions of I-494 or buzzed along “The Crosstown” (formally known as Hwy. 62) you’ve been smack dab in the heart of trophy territory.
Edina has won the last three Class 2A state championships, matching the trio of titles won by Minnetonka from 2011 through 2013. Breaking up that stretch was back-to-back title runs by east side interloper Hill-Murray in 2014 and 2015, and west side neighbor Eden Prairie in 2016.
Based on early season results and current state rankings, the odds favor a western resting place for the state title again this season, although its worth noting that Andover, ranked No. 1 in the Class 2A state coaches’ poll from Nov. 27, and representing the northern suburbs, has defeated both No. 2-2A Edina and No. 3-2A Minnetonka this year.
Blake, Eden Prairie and Wayzata, all in the west, are also ranked among the top seven. But Edina (3-1-0, 0-0-0) and Minnetonka (4-1-0, 0-0-0) remain the area’s big boppers, as both programs boast the deadly combination of top-end talent (both teams have six players committed to Division I colleges) and superior depth (three quality lines versus most teams’ one or two), which is why their meeting on Saturday is our Top Game of the Week.
Edina outlasted Minnetonka 2-1 in a state semifinal last year en route to the title. The first meeting of the season between these Lake Conference rivals could be a similar, low-scoring, who-blinks-first affair.
Edina has shut out its last three opponents, defeating Cretin-Derham Hall, Duluth and Proctor/Hermantown by a combined score of 20-0. That dominating run comes after the 1-0 loss to Andover in the season opener on Nov. 7. Triggering the lockdown mode for the Hornets has been goalie Uma Corniea, a freshman who transferred from two-time defending Class 1A state champion Breck. Corniea, who has committed to Princeton, is 2-1-0 with two shutouts and one goal allowed.
Katie Davis leads a balanced Edina offense with four goals and four assists. Six other Hornets have at least four points.
It’s easy to spot Minnetonka’s Lacey Martin, a senior forward committed to Boston University, as she’s been leaving a trail of scorched ice. Her 11 goals is tops on the team by eight. Junior goaltender Brynn Dulac has shutouts in her last three games and a sterling .940 save percentage for the season.