Minnetonka defeats Chanhassen in double OT in Men’s Division 2AA hockey final
Alex Lunski led the Chanhassen men’s hockey team in goal as a rookie. Now a junior at Minnetonka, he steered his former teammates away from their ultimate goal.
Lunski buried the match winner in second extra time and claimed a 2-1 win in the Class 2A, Section 2 Championship game at the sold-out Braemar Arena in Edina. The win sends the Skippers to next week’s state tournament on a 17-game winning streak.
“Jack Sand was behind their net and I came out in front,” Lunski said. “He gave me the pass through the back door, and I just inserted it. Both of these goalkeepers tonight are really good, so I thought the final goal would be scored in net.
Lunski’s goal, 2 minutes and 12 seconds into the second overtime, was his 11th of the season. He transferred to Minnetonka as a sophomore before last season.
“He gives us three balanced lines that can play anyone,” Minnetonka coach Sean Goldsworthy said. “He gives us an extra edge late in the game, and that’s what happened tonight. I said to that line, ‘You’re going to be the line that cashes in tonight’ and they did. .”
Luke Garry of the Skippers tied the game 1-1 at 12:18 of the third period with his 13th goal of the season, this one on the power play. The second-seeded Skippers (26-2) were 0-4 on the power play in their 4-1 loss Dec. 10 at Chanhassen.
“That was eons ago,” Goldsworthy said. “Our composition is totally different.”
Two scoreless periods, co-written largely by Minnetonka goaltender Kaizer Nelson and Chanhassen counterpart Kam Hendrickson, gave way to each team scoring a goal in the third.
Top seed Chanhassen (24-4) took the lead in the first ever sectional final in program history. Junior forward Micah Saxon took advantage of a lucky rebound off the end boards and scored his second goal of the season. Saxon had replaced Tyler Smith on the front row in the first two rounds of the playoffs after the latter’s upper body injury.
But Smith played on Thursday. He was cleared just nine days after surgery for a broken collarbone suffered Feb. 18 in the regular-season finale.
“He brings a huge improvement in personality and character,” Chanhassen coach Sean Bloomfield said. “He’s just a warrior.”
Both coaches agreed that Thursday’s game marked an unfortunate end for one of the two top-ranked teams in the state.
“I thought it was an even game,” Bloomfield said. “There were times when they were better; there were times when we were better. That’s what you expect from a fun hockey game.”
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