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Edina adds to hockey success with first girls' 2A title

02/25/2017, 10:30pm CST
By DAVID LA VAQUE, Star Tribune

Depth, tenacity and talent led the Hornets to a 4-0 victory over Blaine.


Edina goalkeeper Anna Goldstein (35) is mobbed by teammates after they won the championship.Photo: ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@startribune.com


Edina coach Sami Reber, a 2011 Hornets graduate, hugged players after the game. Photo: Anthony Souffle, Star Tribune

Make room for a new state championship banner at Braemar Arena, a historic addition to Edina’s rich hockey tradition.

A 4-0 victory against Blaine in the Class 2A state championship game gave the lady Hornets their first state title in program history. Their triumph stands alongside the 13 championships won by the boys’ hockey programs of Edina and Edina East.

No. 1 seed Edina (28-1-1) completed its dream season Saturday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul thanks to depth, tenacity and talent.

“It seems like a dream,” first-year Edina coach Sami Reber said. “This program has just wanted it for so long. I couldn’t be more proud of this group of girls. They came ready to work every single day for this goal. They came ready to make it a reality. And when we do get to hang that banner, it’ll be a day I know I’ll never forget.”

Reber, a 2011 Edina graduate, made additional history as the first female head coach to win a Class 2A girls’ hockey state title. She called the distinction “an extreme honor.”

No. 2 seed Blaine (24-4-2) built its success on the energy of scoring goals. But Edina occupied all the power outlets Saturday. The Hornets’ second line of Lolita Fidler, Olivia Kilberg and Sophie Slattery provided eight of the Hornets’ 12 tournament goals.

They were locked in against Blaine early and often. Fidler put Edina ahead just 59 seconds into the game, tipping an Eva Hendrickson shot and sending the puck through the five-hole of Blaine goalie Jaela O’Brien.

Kilberg struck in similar fashion, redirecting a great feed from Evelyn Adams at 14:42 of the first period for a 2-0 Hornets’ lead.

Fidler and Kilberg co-authored a 3-0 lead at 7:12 of the second period. Filder’s initial shot created a rebound chance for Kilberg. And when Fidler got the puck back with a clear shooting lane, she didn’t hesitate.

Fidler scored her 24th goal of the season and fourth of the state tournament. She finished with the game-winning goal in all three games.

“I had no unassisted goals so it was a team effort,” said Fidler, a junior who has committed to Harvard.

Five of Edina’s six forwards on the top two lines are Division-I bound and they put Blaine on notice.

“They are a great team and they played like it tonight,” said Blaine senior defenseman Emily Brown, who is committed to the Gophers. “They forechecked us hard all night and we couldn’t get anything going.”

Edina’s defense, which allowed just one goal in five playoff games, also impressed. Blaine had been averaging 5.5 goals per game in the postseason and had not been shutout all season.

“We’ve been so good offensively that we never think we’re out of it,” Blaine coach Steve Guider said. “But their defense was outstanding. They didn’t give us any room. That is without question the best team we’ve played.”

Edina, a community steeped in hockey success, adds a new banner to its impressive collection.

A 4-0 victory against Blaine in the Class 2A state championship game gave the lady Hornets their first state title in program history. Their triumph stands alongside the 13 championships won by the boys’ hockey programs of Edina and Edina East.

No. 1 seed Edina (28-1-1) completed its dream season Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul thanks to depth, tenacity and talent.

Lolita Fidler put Edina ahead just 59 seconds into the game, tipping an Eva Hendrickson shot and sending the puck through the five hole under Blaine goalie Jaela O’Brien.

Olivia Kilberg struck in similar fashion, redirecting a great feed from Evelyn Adams at 14:42 of the first period for a 2-0 Hornets’ lead.

In successful games all season long, No. 2 seed Blaine (24-3-2) fed of the energy of goals. But Edina occupied all the power outlets Saturday.

Fidler and Kilberg co-authored a 3-0 lead at 7:12 of the second period. Filder’s initial shot created a rebound chance for Kilberg. She pushed the puck toward the net, O’Brien committed and when the puck bounced free, Fidler had a clear shooting lane.

She scored her 24th goal of the season and fourth of the state tournament. She finished with the game-winning goal in all three games.

The second line of Fidler, Kilberg and Sophie Slattery provided eight of the Hornets’ 12 tournament goals.

First-year Edina coach Sami Reber, a 2011 graduate of the school, led the Hornets to their first state title. She became the first woman to coach a Class 2A girls’ hockey championship team.

Olivia Swaim poked a puck home to give Edina 4-0 lead at 3:50 of the third period.

The teams brought similarities to the ice. Both used depth and quickness throughout the forward lines to pressure the opposition and score goals. They boasted a combined 13 players with Division I college commitments, eight for Edina and five for Blaine.

And they were title-starved. Blaine took runner-up in 2001 while Edina placed second in 2010 and 2011.

They employed different successful formulas down the stretch. Edina entered the game allowing just one goal in four playoff games. Blaine averaged 5.5 goals per game over the same span.

On Saturday, Edina was everything Blaine has been yet was unable to muster on the biggest muster. The Hornets, with five of their six forwards bound for Division I colleges, were opportunistic and able to finish.

Senior goaltender Anna Goldstein earned a second-consecutive shutout. She preserved the clean sheet by stopping Paige Beebe on a third period breakaway.

After starting slow in the quarterfinal victory against Farmington, getting revenge with a semifinal shutout of Eden Prairie, Edina put it all together against Blaine.

With her players in a victorious pile on the ice, Reber was in tears while hugging assistant coaches on the bench.

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