Eden Prairie coach Lee Smith has always liked playing “up north” schools.
“They always bring it,” he said, “and with Mason (Mason Langenbrunner) on the team, it added fuel to the fire.”
Langenbrunner played for Cloquet last year. He transferred to Eden Prairie when a new job brought his family to the cities.
On Friday, Eden Prairie would play host to Cloquet.
On Saturday, Eden Prairie welcomed Duluth East.
Eden Prairie opened leads of 2-0 and 3-1 against Cloquet before the Lumberjacks chopped away at the Eagles’ success.
“Their No. 7 (Christian Galatz) is a pretty good player,” said Smith, “and his shorthanded goal made a game of it.”
Galatz’ goal midway through the third period cut Eden Prairie’s lead to 3-2.
Note: Eden Prairie finished 0-6 on the power play.
“That’s a little misleading,” said Smith. “A lot of our power plays were broken.
“Our special teams were really good against East,” he added.
Turned out, Eden Prairie was just good enough to beat Cloquet.
“I’d like to see a little more of a killer instinct when we get leads,” said Smith, “but I thought we played pretty well. They’re a good team.”
Canyon Pergande, John Mittelstadt and Ben Steeves scored Eden Prairie goals.
Eli Andrews stopped 17 of 19 shots and was credited with the win.
Eden Prairie outshot Cloquet 40-19.
Eighteen hours later, Eden Prairie defeated Duluth East 6-3.
The Eagles were consistent, scoring two goals in each period. They were 2-2 on the power play and counted four players with two or more points – John Mittestadt (three goals and one assist), Steeves (one goal and two assists), Riku Brown (one goal and one assist) and Luke Mittelstadt (two assists).
Tyler Marble scored a lone goal.
Axel Rosenlund stopped 18 of 21 shots and was credited with the win.
Eden Prairie outshot Duluth East 33-21.
The victory improved Eden Prairie’s overall record to a Class AA-best 11-2-1.
The two wins may have also lifted Eden Prairie back into the No. 1 spot in the latest top-10 poll.
“I could see us back at No. 1,” said Smith. “Andover lost and tied last week and Rosemount split.”
Andover, last week’s No. 1 team, is 10-3-1. Rosemount is 13-3-0.
Eden Prairie is two weeks away, possibly, from the return of an injured Carter Batchelder. In two weeks, almost certainly, they’ll welcome the varsity debut of Jackson Blake.
The additions will make Eden Prairie a better team.
The wait won’t be easy. On Thursday at 7 p.m., Eden Prairie hosts a red-hot Minnetonka team.
Minnetonka is 8-7 overall, but has won seven of its last nine games.
At 7 p.m. Saturday, Eden Prairie hosts Saint Michael-Albertville.
“They beat Wayzata and tied Edina,” said Smith. “That’s a couple good games for the newcomer.”
Next week, Eden Prairie plays Wayzata and Blake.