Photo by SportsEngine
We task our reporters with identifying several intriguing games throughout the state to assemble our Top Games of the Week. The matchups are presented in no particular order, and when there are additional games we want to highlight, we’ll include them with brief notes.
It doesn’t get much bigger than this for a regular season matchup. Benilde St. Margaret’s has been ranked No. 1 in the coaches’ poll all season, while Chanhassen has been ranked No. 2 all season.
Those rankings have been justified, as both teams are undefeated overall and in Metro West Conference play this season. And most of their games have not been close. The Storm (9-0, 4-0) have outscored their opponents by 86 goals, while the Red Knights (10-0, 4-0) have a plus-106 goal differential this season.
This one should be the closest thus far, and if any team can stop the Red Knights' 41-game win streak, the Storm on paper seem to be the team to do it. After all, this win streak started in May 2021 after the Storm beat the Red Knights 11-10 in double overtime.
The Storm’s attacking duo of Daxton Bush and Carter Van Volland were on point in that win, as they combined for five goals and three assists. The two teammates, who've totaled a combined 69 goals and 32 assists this season, will need to be ready against a stifling Benilde-St. Margaret's defense.
Anchoring a defense that’s allowed 3.8 goals per game is Axel Esco, who is the only goalie in the state to reach 10 wins. He’s helped the Red Knights stay perfect by stopping 66% of the shots he’s faced this season.
Two of the hottest teams in the state will face off on Monday looking for momentum they can take into the postseason.
No. 6-ranked Edina (7-1, 5-0) lost to Benilde-St. Margaret’s 16-10 on April 29. Since then, they’ve rattled off five wins in a row, outsourcing their opponents 66-26 in the process. That includes an 8-7 overtime win against Minnetonka on May 9, which ended the Skippers’ perfect conference record and put the Hornets in sole possession of first place in the Lake Conference.
After an opening season loss to the Red Knights, No. 10 Stillwater (8-1) has won eight straight games outscoring opponents 88-44 during the stretch.
The team's 10-2 win over Woodbury kept the Ponies perfect in the Suburban East Conference and put them four points clear of the Royals in the conference standings. If the Ponies are going to extend their win streak to nine games on Monday, the play of midfielder Nick Hornbuckle could be a big factor. He has helped win the Ponies possession all season winning 76 draws and picking up 38 ground balls.
Some of the top talent in the state will be on display when Centennial (6-3) and Totino-Grace (6-3) face off on Wednesday.
Logan Adams has racked up 44 points for the Cougars this year, which is tied for the eighth-most in the state. En route to that total has included three games of eight points or more for the junior. He’s formed a dangerous combination with Brol Scherman. The junior has scored 31 goals, tied for seventh-most in the state. In the eight games he’s played in this season, Scherman has scored at least two goals.
Totino-Grace has its own dangerous combo in Liam Gillard and James Keiser. Gillard has matched Adams’ 44 points, but he’s done so in two fewer games. Meanwhile, Keiser has matched Scherman’s tally of 31 goals. He’s scored a hat trick in every game this season, with his highest output being a seven-goal performance against Andover on May 1. That was also Gillard’s best performance of the season, as he put up six goals and four assists in the 18-8 win.
Shakopee vs. Lakeville North, 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 16. The No. 3-ranked Panthers will look to remain undefeated against the No. 4-ranked Sabers in this massive South Suburban Conference matchup.
Mankato vs. Rochester Mayo, 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 17. Mankato’s only loss in Big 9 Conference play this season was a 12-9 defeat to the Spartans on May 1. We’ll see if the Spartans can remain undefeated in the Big 9 in the rematch this week.
The MN Lax Hub poll is only for entertainment purposes.