By Michael Platzer
Minnetonka 5, Chaska 2
Pagel Activity Center was packed on the eve of Christmas Eve for #2 Minnetonka versus Chaska, with an impressive showing of Hawks' fans on the Skippers' home ice. The Skippers ultimately lived up to their #2 ranking.
Tonka came out fast, featuring crisp, precise passing, slowed only by an early penalty. In the defensive zone and neutral ice, they turned over the Hawks and transitioned quickly to odd-man rushes and often held the offensive zone for extended shifts.
The Hawks, meanwhile, played a conservative defensive style, packing in down low, protecting goaltender Justin Bach, who was exceptional in net. Nick Olmscheid, Rhett Pitlick, and Shane LaVelle headlined the play for the Hawks, with Michael Koster making several single-handed rushes late in the game. It wasn't enough for the Hawks. In the third period Tonka's Bobby Brink circled the offensive zone with speed for a-lap-and-a-half before hitting Jack Bayless cross ice, who buried the shot, sealing the victory for the Skippers.
Chaska is young and talented--a team to be reckoned with in the near future, quite like Minnetonka a year ago.