Eastview players celebrate after Erik Gage's goal 48 seconds into overtime gave the Lightning a 16-15 upset victory over Minnetonka. Photo by Loren Nelson
Eastview had just rallied from a three-goal deficit as junior Ryan McNamara cruised around the Minnetonka net.
The Lightning had their first possession of overtime and No. 2-ranked Minnetonka was on the ropes.
McNamara fought off a defender as he wheeled around the side of the net, scanning the field, first high, then in the middle.
Eastview's Ryan McNamara, left, and Alex Wohl catch their breath on the sideline before the overtime period in the Lightning's victory over Minnetonka. Photo by Loren Nelson
McNamara, who already had scored six goals, dished to teammate Erik Gage, who completed the upset for the No. 6-ranked Lightning in a 16-15 victory over the Skippers on Thursday, April 12, at Eastview High School.
With all the focus on McNamara, Gage had found space in the middle of Minnetonka defense, which McNamara exploited.
“I saw that there was no chance of me going to the net, so I looked up,” McNamara said. “I looked to Gage, and he finished it.”
Gage’s goal capped off a dramatic opening game for Eastview in which McNamara picked up where he left off a season ago when he led the Lightning with 48 points (34 goals, 14 assists), McNamara made his points per game average from 2011 look like child’s play as he notched nine points in the win.
McNamara scored four goals in the fourth quarter and had a hand in six of the Lightning’s last seven goals.
Calm and in control despite the Lightning being behind on the scoreboard for the better part of the game, McNamara showed patience and never forced chances while playing field general for Eastview.
“I really don’t think about it in the game, I just let it come to me,” he said. “I mean, if there’s a chance for me to score, get a point, I let that happen.”
Eastview's Chris Granat, left, tries to turn the corner on Minnetonka's Teddy O'Reilly. Photo by Loren Nelson
Even Eastview coach Tim Roche was a bit surprised at his star’s performance once the final horn sounded.
“Six goals, huh?” Roche said with a smile. “We think he’s the best player in the state, and he showed it today.
McNamara cited a team trip to the East Coast as an example of Eastview’s successful offseason. A docket full of tournaments and practice helped his team gear up for a tough first game.
“We went out East with our whole varsity team,” McNamara said. “We played in three tournaments in Johns Hopkins, Virginia, and then another one at Johns Hopkins, and it really helped us come together as a team.”
Team bonding, extra practice, whatever you want to call it, a positive offseason helped Eastview start its season on a high note.
“It’s a big win,” McNamara said. “It’s only the first game, but I think they were ranked number two in state so that’s a big win. But it’s just a start.”
Senior Erik Gage scored 48 seconds into overtime as No. 6-ranked Eastview upset No. 2-ranked Minnetonka 16-15 on Thursday, April 12, at Eastview High School in Apple Valley.
Junior attackman Ryan McNamara racked up nine points including an assist on the final goal. He was the driving force for the Lightning, scoring four goals in the fourth quarter as Eastview made a final run to tie the game.
Eastview jumped on the board quickly, building a 2-0 lead on the Skippers. From there, Minnetonka’s offense put the pedal to the metal, and the Skippers led 9-6 at halftime.
Every time the Skippers built a lead, Eastview would slowly climb back in the game, only to have Minnetonka rattle off another series of unanswered goals.
Senior attackman Teddy O’Reilly had the green light to shoot for Minnetonka, firing nine times and racking up a team-leading three goals.
Midfielder Matthew Boyce also had three goals for the Skippers.
Senior Jake Heppner scored six goals for Eastview and finished with seven points, including a goal to tie the game late in the fourth quarter.
1. Ryan McNamara, Eastview
The junior attackman was firing on all cylinders for the Lightning, scoring six goals and dishing out three assists. He scored four times in the fourth quarter and assisted on the goal that won the game for the lightning in over. McNamara led his team, averaging just under four points per game last year, and has set a breakneck pace for himself this season.
2. Jake Heppner, Eastview
A close second in team points in 2011, Heppner started his season off on the right foot, tying the game with 30.5 seconds to go and finishing with seven points (6 goals, 1 assists). The senior attackman had 43 points last season.
3. Teddy O’Reilly, Minnetonka
O’Reilly, a senior, played just as well as Heppner and McNamara but couldn’t always find the net. He had loads of offensive chances and nine shots on goal, but picked up only three goals and an assist. Not exactly a slouch but with the offensive performances of McNamara and Heppner, O’Reilly’s didn’t quite match the Lightning attackmen.
Minnetonka's Teddy O'Reilly