Champlin Park's Ryan McNeil (15) shoots wide of the Eastview net and goaltender Jeremy LeClaire. Photo by Katherine Matthews.
Mitch Beattie doesn’t have blazing speed, overpowering size and strength or a shot that keeps goalies quaking in their cleats.
Yet somehow, some way, game after game, Beattie scores and sets up goals with sunrise-sunset reliability.
“He’s an animal,” Eastview senior attackman Tanner Hamill said about Beattie. “Oh, such a hard worker. He plays hockey, he used to play football. He’s just a little tank that keeps on going.”
Hamill couldn’t say enough good things about Beattie, who finished with two goals and two assists. Which only makes sense, since it was Beattie who did the gruntwork to set up two of Hamill’s four goals in Eastview’s 10-6 state tournament semifinal victory over Champlin Park on Thursday, June 13, at Chanhassen High School.
On one of Hamill’s goals, Beattie ran almost the entire length of the field -- plowing through Champlin Park defenders more than dodging past them -- before finally flipping the ball to an open Hamill on the doorstep.
“He knows where I am,” Stillings said. “We play together so well, other than (Ryan McNamara) and (Nick Abbott), my attack partners, Mitch Beattie just feeds me. On man-up, everywhere. He just feeds me all the time. I love it.”
Speaking of McNamara, the Lightning goal-scorer extraordinaire nearly was shut out for the first time this season. The Mr. Lacrosse finalist and Division I recruit (Marquette) who deposited a stunning 12 goals in Eastview’s 19-18 section championship victory over Eagan scored his lone goal late in the fourth quarter to help the Lightning seal the win.
McNamara drew the bulk of the attention from the Champlin Park defense, allowing more room for Beattie and Hamill, among others. Exploiting that sort of McNamara-first defense requires scoring depth, of which Eastview has plenty.
“I see a lot that we are a one-player team,” Eastview coach Tim Roche said. “Absolutely not. We have a lot of guys -- our four top middies have 19 goals coming in to today. We are a complete team.”
Beattie, who had 14 goals and 13 assists during the regular season, scored four goals in the section playoffs and has three more – to goal along with three assists – in the state tournament. His smart, no-frills style of play serves as necessary compliment to the spectacular stylings of McNamara.
Beattie, one of the captains of Eastview’s hockey team that made a surprising run to the state tournament last March, has scored at least two goals in five of the Lightning’s last six games.
“Beattie has played phenomenal,” Roche said. “He has picked it up. He’s a tricky shooter. He doesn’t have the hardest shot, and he’ll admit that, but he can snipe.
“He knows exactly where the goalie is weak and he shoots it there.”
Senior attackman Tanner Hamill scored four goals, and senior midfielder Mitch Beattie scored twice and added two assists as defending boys’ state champion Eastview held off tournament newcomer Champlin Park in a 10-6 victory in Thursday’s first semifinal game at Chanhassen High School.
The No. 2 seed Lightning (14-3) will face the winner of Thursday’s second semifinal game between No. 1 seed Eden Prairie and No. 4 seed White Bear Lake. The championship game takes place at 7 p.m. Saturday at Chanhassen.
Eastview saw its lead cut to 7-6 in the fourth quarter as No. 3 seed Champlin Park got goals from Luke Dalman and Cody Schmitt 17 seconds apart. The Lightning responded with consecutive goals by Hammil, Ryan McNamara and Beattie.
McNamara, a Mr. Lacrosse finalist who has committed to play at Marquette, avoided being shut out for the first time in 17 games this season by scoring his 49th goal after curling into the high slot from behind the goal and firing a rocket shot. His goal put Eastview ahead 9-6.
The Lightning ran out the clock with an impressive display of ball control over the closing 4 minutes.
Consecutive goals to end the first half by Joel Iverson, Beattie and Hamill allowed the Lighting to rally from a 3-2 deficit and take a two-goal lead at the break.
Beattie ignited Eastview’s comeback with two great plays. He scored with 3:36 left in the half to give the Lightning their first lead, at 4-3, since Michael Stillings opened the scoring for the Lightning midway through the first quarter. Beattie then made a long run down the field, eluding two defenders at midfield, and dished to Hamill at the last moment for an easy goal with 2:22 left.
Luke Dalman and Max Turgeon scored in the late stages of the first quarter to give Champlin Park a 2-1 lead. Mason Schmitt scored in the second quarter for the Rebels (14-3), putting them ahead 3-2.
Eastview sophmore Jeremy LeClaire turned in another standout performance, making eight saves en route to the victory.
1. Tanner Hamill, Eastview
Scoring four goals on his only four shots on goal, Hamill was a code the Rebel defense could not crack. His two goals in the fourth quarter helped put away Champlin Park for good.
2. Mitch Beattie, Eastview
Beattie was all over the field, creating a constant headache for his opponents. He racked up two goals as well as two assists, both to teammate Hamill.
3. Ryan McNeil, Champlin Park
A content source of offense for the Rebels, McNeil had more than one-third of his team's shots on goal. McNeil found the back of the net just once to go along with his one assist, but this game may have gone differently if it were not for several spectacular saves on McNeil by Eastview's Jeremy LeClaire.
-- Jake Lunemann, MN Lax Hub Staff