Minnetonka senior Andrew DiFrancesco battles Prior Lake's Colin Tushie for a loose ball Thursday evening in Prior Lake. DiFrancesco scored three goals in the Skippers' 7-4 victory over the Lakers. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
Less than a minute into the second quarter of Thursday’s game between Minnetonka and Prior Lake, it looked like a dream head coaching debut for new Lakers coach Casey Mithun. Senior attackman Benjamin Jung had just scored his second goal of the game to put the Lakers ahead 3-1 against Minnetonka.
But from there, it was mostly downhill for the Lakers as they didn’t score again until late in the fourth quarter. In the meantime, the Skippers scored six unanswered goals. That 6-0 run proved to be enough as Minnetonka, ranked No. 2 in the state coaches’ poll, picked up a 7-4 road win against the No. 1 Lakers.
Though the Skippers (2-0, 0-0) already had a game under their belt, they admitted that they come out in the first quarter with some jitters.
“We kinda got some first-quarter nerves,” said Minnetonka senior attackman Andrew DiFrancesco. “We were not really ourselves. Our coaches got on us after that first quarter and then we came out ready.”
The Skippers’ fortunes began to change on the defensive end, starting in goal with senior Jack Bayless. After tallying 35 points this winter as a mainstay on the Minnetonka hockey team, Bayless was a key factor on the backend with 13 saves on Thursday.
“We have some horses on defense and one of the best ball-stopping goalies in the state,” Minnetonka coach Aaron Oliver said. “I thought (Bayless) was the best player on the field tonight.”
Seeing his defense and goalie make key plays, DiFrancesco wanted to get in on the action. And he did as he scored a pair of goals in the second quarter that helped pave the way for the Skippers to take a 4-3 lead into halftime.
Minnetonka'a Grant Brunsvold looks for space along the sideline against Prior Lake. Brunsvold had two goals for the Skippers in their 7-4 victory over the Lakers Thursday evening in Prior Lake. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
After falling to Prior Lake in last season’s state tournament semifinals, Minnetonka extracted some revenge on Thursday. The Skippers picked up their second win of the season, beating the Lakers 7-4 at Prior Lake High School.
Less than a minute into the second quarter, Minnetonka (2-0 0-0) trailed 3-1. But from there, the Skippers outscored Prior Lake 6-1.
The rally started with senior attackman Andrew DiFrancesco. The Denver commit got Minnetonka, ranked No. 2 in the coaches’ poll from April 11, on the board in the second quarter and finished with three goals. Senior midfielder Grant Brunsvold helped lead the charge with a pair of goals.
The No. 1-ranked Lakers (0-1, 0-0) started fast with a pair of goals from senior attackman Benjamin Jung in the first half. Senior attackman Luke Bloedow also tallied a goal for the defending state champions. Jung scored his third and final goal of the contest late in the fourth quarter.
Minnetonka held Prior Lake off the scoreboard for more than two quarters thanks to a staunch defensive effort and 13 saves from senior goalie Jack Bayless. Prior Lake junior goalie Colin Nauertz made 10 saves.
Prior Lake's Benjamin Jung had three goals for the Lakers in their 7-4 loss to Minnetonka Thursday evening. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
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