Monday was the opening day of the 2014 Schwan Cup for the Gold Division at Ridder Arena on the University of Minnesota campus and the Silver, Bronze and Open Divisions at the Schwan’s Super Rink in Blaine.
In the Open Division quarterfinals on Rink 2, Minneapolis took a 3-1 lead after the first period but the Spring Lake Park Panthers bounced back with four unanswered goals, including the eventual game winner from Zach Johnson with 3:50 remaining in the second period to hold on to a 5-3 win.
Minneapolis, the only team in the four boys brackets without a nickname, got two first period goals from Connor Fulco and one from Max Kjome while the Panthers got one from Aaron Murphy with 1:43 left and Minneapolis led 3-1. Devin Sunell would cut the lead to one after receiving a pass from Connor Gagnon, glided down the right side, cut to the center slot and scored. Jacob Nystrom and Johnson would tally to put Spring Lake Park ahead. The Panthers added a third period goal from Luke Turnquist and they would clinch a berth in Tuesday’s semifinals.
The day concluded with a pair of teams from out state Minnesota as the Luverne Cardinals came from the southwest and the Winona Winhawks arrived from the southeast. The Cardinals, ranked 15th in Class A made the most of the long haul to the Twin Cities with a hat trick from freshman Nick Harder and a six goal period to wallop the Winhawks 11-3.
Luverne would dominate from the opening face off, scoring four first period goals. They showed outstanding team speed and passing and it resulted in goals from two goals from Jesse Reed and one from Chaz Smedsrud and Kasyn Kruse. The Cardinals would score six times in the second period. Winona would finally put a puck into the net on Joe Brinkman;’s goal with 3:29 remaining. Ivan Kovala would add a short handed goal with 2:11 left.
Both teams would score in the third period with Hunter Miner capturing the Luverne net for Winona and the Cardinas getting an unassisted short handed goal from Harder with :30 left.
It was the seventh straight win for Luverne and the fifth time this season they surpassed the 10 goal mark. The last time they scored more than 10 goals was when they scored a season high 17 against Worthington on December 19.
Luverne will play Spring Lake Park in the semifinals on Tuesday, December 30 at 8 PM. The game will be preceded by the first semifinal game at 5:30 between the Bloomington Kennedy Eagles and the Irondale Knights. Consolation play gets underway at 12:30 with the Marshall Tigers facing the Minnehaha Academy Redhawks and at 3 PM, the Winona Winhawks take on Minneapolis.