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Edina boys hockey defeats Grand Rapids in MSHSL Class 2A semifinals

The Hornets scored four goals in the first period to pull away in the state championship semifinal

ST. PAUL — The No. 1-seed Edina Hornets defeated the No. 5-seed Grand Rapids Thunderhawks 5-2 in the 2024 Class 2A MSHSL boys hockey semifinals on Friday at Xcel Energy Center.

After a disappointing first period in the quarterfinals, Edina made sure to get the first 17 minutes of the game the way it wanted. 

"The kids came to play," Edina head coach Curt Giles said. "Some real good shots, and some real good goals. We were fortunate."

Four different Hornets scored as they posted a 4-0 lead after the period. Bobby Cowan started the scoring six minutes in with a rocket over Grand Rapids goaltender Casey Carters' blocker. 

John Halverson and John Warpinski added one goal each, and Cowan scored the fourth and final goal of the period on a 1-on-1 with Carter.

"You make your own breaks," Grand Rapids coach Grant Clafton said. "That's one thing you can't take away from them is they work for what they get. They play the game the right way."

The second period was a more even tilt. Edina still led in shots on goal, 9-5, but Grand Rapids was able to stop Edina's push. 

Both teams ran successful power plays in the third period. 

Cowan got his second goal of the day for Edina six minutes into the third period. Grand Rapids answered two minutes later with a goal from Kyle Miller. 

The Thunderhawks added another power-play goal as Hornets kept going to the penalty box. Jacob Garski scored Grand Rapids' second goal of the day on a slapshot from a rebound.

"It meant everything to just get that fire back into the team," Grand Rapids senior Kyler Miller said. "Get the fire to go out every shift and give it your all."

Grand Rapids will play Cretin-Derham Hall in the Class 2A third-place game on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center.

Edina will play No. 2-seed Chanhassen in the Class 2A state championships on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center. The Hornets will play for their 11th state title in school history, while Chanhassen will play in its first state title game in school history. 

"We have all the experience in the world," senior Jackson Nevers said. "Half our team has been in this position going into tomorrow."

Edina and Chanhassen did not meet during the season this year, but many of the players know each other from playing hockey in the same area. 

"Off the ice, we're all pretty good friends, but headed into tomorrow, we're going to be enemies," Nevers said. "it all comes down to who wants it more, and I like to believe there's no friends out there."

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- Jack Butler | | @Butler917