2016 National Championships: Rivalry Hits The Road

Minnesota Teams Go The Extra Mile (And Time) To Stake Claim To Title At High School Nationals

The Minnesota towns of Wayzata and Edina are located just 14 miles apart. When it comes to their rivalry on the ice, they are even closer than that.

Over the years these two Junior Gold teams have faced off in plenty of tight affairs, including the last three state title games. Those contests have spilled over into a total of 14 overtime periods, including a seven overtime game in 2015, which played over the course of two days due to a power outage. After 108 overtime minutes, Edina finally prevailed in one of the longest state tournament games recorded at any level.

So it came as no surprise that their matchup in the championship game of the Pure Division at the 2016 Toyota-USA Hockey High School National Championship would need extra time to decide a winner.

True to form, it was a neck-and-neck affair with both teams battling for every inch of ice at the Ashburn Ice House outside of Washington, D.C. With 11.2 seconds left in the third, Wayzata’s Andrew Oare knocked in the equalizer on a 6-on-4 man advantage to send the game into overtime. Three minutes into the extra session, Oare struck again, this time to take home the title.

Why the two teams match up so well isn’t a mystery to Wayzata Head Coach Jonathan Lindahl.

“We’re neighboring communities with similarly-sized school districts and well-respected programs. The teams are natural rivals,” said Lindahl, who has coached the team since 2012. “We definitely bring out the best in each other. We just know each other so well and it seems that our games always go down to the wire.”

No matter which team won in Virginia, it’s the State of Hockey that benefits. Minnesota takes great pride in its high school hockey, and it’s easy to see why. The Minnesota High School tournament has historically drawn overflow crowds to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, and captures the attention of the entire state.

Fierce rivals on the ice, many of the players from both Edina and Wayzata, Minn., have a long history of tough competition and deep respect for each other.Fierce rivals on the ice, many of the players from both Edina and Wayzata, Minn., have a long history of tough competition and deep respect for each other.

 

 

For those players who don’t make the varsity or JV squads at their respective high schools, the Junior Gold division offers an opportunity to represent their schools and compete on a national stage.

“For two Junior Gold A teams to go out and beat the top teams from these other states really says a lot about the depth of talent in Minnesota hockey,” Lindahl said. “To win the National Championship and have a lot of fun doing it is so nice for these kids.”

Over the years, Minnesota's only representative at Nationals has been the powerhouse Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep school, which is located in Faribault. Last year, Edina became the first high school to represent the state at the High School Nationals, with Wayzata joining them this year. According to Dave Margenau, a District Director from Minnesota, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

“Last year was Minnesota’s first entry in the High School Championships,” Margenau said. “And we’re very excited to be advancing teams at all levels of the National Championships in 2017.”

Issue: 
2016-04

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