Just a few weeks into a new hockey season, neither defending Class 2A state champion and top-ranked Minnetonka nor No. 2-2A Chanhassen is a refined product. But a packed Pagel Activity Center and an emotional rematch of the 2023 Class 2A Section 2 championship game that went into a second overtime evoked a late-season playoff atmosphere on Thursday night.
It took until the closing seconds of overtime to decide Thursday's game. Minnetonka junior forward Ashton Schultz scored with 47 seconds to play to give the Skippers a 3-2 victory.
“It was a high emotion, close game against a very respected opponent,” Minnetonka coach Sean Goldsworthy said after the Skippers moved to 5-0-0. “We haven’t had that kind of game yet this year where there is that kind of pressure.”
The Skippers, who finished 29-2-0 en route to the state Class 2A title last spring, outscored their first four opponents 31-3 and recorded three consecutive shutouts.
Chanhassen, on the other hand, got off to a slow start, with the Storm losing their first two games (both at Pagel Activity Center during a Thanksgiving tournament) before rebounding to win its next two.
Senior forward Gavin Uhlenkamp said before Thursday’s game that the Storm are “nowhere near where we want to be.”
Forwards Logan Smith and Tyler Smith missed the first couple of games while the Storm’s football team was wrapping up a Class 5A state championship and key role player Brayden Willis also missed the first two games. Uhlenkamp, who assisted on Gavin Lee’s power-play goal that left the Storm with a 1-0 lead after the first period, said the team is just starting to get reacquainted.
Chanhassen coach Sean Bloomfield echoed that sentiment and praised his squad for playing up to Thursday night’s challenge. “We were happy with the way we played,” he said.
Minnetonka tried to regain control of the game in the second period as Robby House scored just more than 2 minutes in to tie the game at 1-1. Andy Earl, assisted by Tyler Smith, scored at 9:09 to put the Storm back on top 2-1 but Gavin Garry scored on a power play to tie the game again less than a minute later.
Minnetonka senior Javon Moore, a University of Minnesota recruit and one of the state’s leading scorers, was held scoreless for the first time this season after scoring eight goals, including two three-goal outings, in the first four games.
But that doesn’t mean Moore didn’t have an impact. He blocked a point-blank shot directed at Skippers goalie Hunter Bauer near the end of overtime. That block led to the break that resulted in Schultz’ game-winning goal.
“Javon gets a lot of attention for his offense, but his defensive play is elite,” Goldsworthy said. “He plays 200 feet and really sets the tone for this team.”
Ashton Schultz's goal with just seconds left in overtime lifted No. 1-2A Minnetonka to a 3-2 victory over No. 2-2A Chanhassen Thursday night at a packed Pagel Activity Center.
Schultz's goal broke a 2-2 tie that stood after the second period and was Minnetonka's second consecutive overtime victory over Chanhassen. The first came in the Class 2A Section 2 championship game last March.
Minnetonka remains unbeaten at 5-0-0 while Chanhassen slips to 2-3-0 while losing in Pagel Activity Center for the third time this season.
Caden Lee and Andy Earl scored goals for Chanhassen. Robert House and Gavin Garry scored second-period goals for the Skippers.