Andover guts out win over Edina in Opener

by Pete Waggoner

Box Score                         Video

Edina, MN - Two of the top teams in Minnesota Girls High School Hockey faced off at Braemar Arena in Edina, MN on Thursday night and did not disappoint.  The No. 2 ranked Andover defeated the three-time defending state champion and No. 1 ranked Edina Hornets by a score of 1-0 in a fast-paced highly skilled game before a large crowd.  Andover goalie Amanda Pelkey was perfect in goal churning out a 25 save shutout for the Huskies. 

After a back and forth start to the first period, the Huskies began to take control of the period with a forecheck that utilized traffic angles while hemming the Hornets in their zone.  The Huskies also were strong below the dots and were rewarded with a goal by Gabby Krause who forced here way to the right post of Hornet goalie Uma Corniea who was sterling in net turning aside 25 of 26 shots.  

The Hornets (0-1) had three third period power plays that allowed them to find their offensive rhythm and took control of the game.  It was a physical affair by both teams as the ice was tightly contested in all three zones.  Andover (1-0) won a lot of the major battles in the first period and were rewarded with the 1-0 lead. Edina found a way to turn the tables and began to seize momentum in the third period outshooting the Huskies 11-5.  

“The first game of the season you aren’t going to expect everything to be perfect," Andover coach Melissa Volk said with a sigh and a smile. “The third period was pretty exhausting to be honest playing in our own end the whole time.  I am just proud they were able to gut it out for the win.”

By some estimations there were up to 8 different high school teams represented in the crowd watching what appears to be a pair of benchmark teams from which to measure themselves. At times, the game took a tentative approach while at other times it saw swings of momentum offensively for each team.  

“I think it was a great girls hockey game for any fan in the state to see,”  Volk said.  “And we had a lot of really elite players out there and it’s always fun when the girls get into it and get physical.” 

Edina was pushing in the Andover zone yet it was sophomore Madison Kaiser who stood her ground and won several one-on-one battles.  When the play moved up ice, it was Kaiser who found players in strided and stepped up in the play offensively.  Kaiser’s effort against the Hornets did not fall short on Volk after the game and said,  “She is a very elite defender out there.  What makes her so great is she is very very physical but she can move the puck up and is very good offensively as a defenseman.  She really sees the lanes out there hits them hard.” 

When asked about what stands out this version of the Huskies that is special, Volk didn’t hesitate and said, “They compete.  That’s the biggest difference I have seen with this group of kids versus other groups of kids I have had.  Other groups may have a few kids that compete.  Well this group competes and are great teammates. They know their roles on the team and they are willing to sit if it makes the team good.” 

The Huskies and Hornets did not disappoint as they played a memorable opener for the second straight season.  The Huskies are now 2-0 in those contests the last two years.