Sophomore Will Schumacher led Prior Lake with 17 goals and 37 points last season. Photo by Loren Nelson, LegacyHockeyPhotgraphy.com
Our too-early look at Class 2A continues as we count down the top 25 big-school teams for the 2020-21 season.
2019-20 Record: 18-6-3
Playoffs: Lost 4-1 to Chaska in Section 2AA semifinals
Seniors lost: 8
Goals for: 108
Goals lost: 43 | Goals returning: 65
Goals against: 64
Goalie minutes lost: 0 | Goalie minutes returning: 1416:40
Power-play percentage: 20.2
Penalty-kill percentage: 85.4
Before last season the Lakers didn't merit as much as a twinkle in prognosticator’s eyes.
A top five team? Crazy talk. Top ten? No way. Top 25? Fuhgettaboutit.
A year later, it’s remarkable how the perception of a perennially good but never great program has changed. And deservedly so. Based on last season’s results, highlighted by the play of a dynamite forward line of sophomores, Prior Lake (which loses just a handful of key seniors) has the potential to be as good as any team in the state.
Last season the Lakers knocked off section rival Minnetonka in early December, topped perennial powerhouse Eden Prairie in early January and twice outlasted South Suburban Conference rival Lakeville South. Prior Lake had won 14 of its previous 15 games before succumbing to Chaska 4-1 in a Section 2AA semifinal in late February.
No doubt the sting of that playoff upset — 18-win Prior Lake was the top seed in the section; Chaska was seeded No. 4 — will serve as motivation for players in a program that has never appeared in the state tournament and has reached just two section finals since its inaugural 1974-75 season.
Schumacher was remarkable in his consistency, registering a point in all but three of his 26 games. Bump proved to be a dynamic playmaker, posting games of four and three assists among his team-best 21 helpers. The elusive Rice saved some of his best games for Prior Lake’s toughest opponents, registering multi-point efforts against the likes of Burnsville, Rosemount and Lakeville South.
Stunningly, all three players were varsity newcomers who played on the Lakers’ Bantam AA team that reached the state tournament in 2019. Trevor Boschee, who posted a 2.25 goals against average and .904 save percentage as a varsity rookie was also part of that Bantam group. Last season he registered 17 victories and is solidified his stature as one of the best goaltenders in the state in his age group.
Another sophomore, Jackson Anderson, joins juniors and 2020-21 co-captains Aiden Emerson and Will Magnuson as returning defensemen. Anderson scored 14 points, Emerson 13 and Magnuson 12, including four goals, last season.
Junior forward Matt Beaty (14 goals, 25 points) provides both scoring punch and an element of toughness-bordering-on- overexuberance (team high 22 penalties).
The senior departures are significant, as Preston Lindholm (15 goals, 9 assists) and Colin Tushie (8 goals, 13 assists) were special teams mainstays. Forwards Parker Long and Hunter Lincoln (17 points each) also played key roles, and Laz Kaebel (11 points) was a cornerstone of the defensive unit.