Will Schumacher

Senior Will Schumacher has control of the puck in Prior Lake’s 6-4 loss at Eden Prairie Jan. 6 in a battle of Section 2AA foes.

The Prior Lake boys hockey team has the potential to contend for the Section 2AA title.

The eight-team field seems to be wide open, but the Lakers have yet to break free this winter with a 6-7 overall mark through 13 games, including 4-3 in the South Suburban Conference.

Prior Lake opened 2022 winning two of their first three games, including a 5-2 conference home win over Apple Valley Jan. 11. Senior Alex Bump had a hat trick to lead the Lakers.

Prior Lake went into the game off a 9-2 league win versus Shakopee Jan. 8 and a 6-4 loss at Eden Prairie Jan. 6 in a battle of section foes.

There are no ranked teams in Section 2AA. Minnetonka (7-5-1), Eden Prairie (7-6), Chanhassen (8-3-1) and Chaska (8-5) all have winning records nearing the season’s midpoint, while Prior Lake, Holy Family (5-11), Shakopee (6-8-1) and Bloomington Jefferson (5-6) are below .500.

Prior Lake is 3-2 against section teams so far with wins over Minnetonka, Chanhassen and Shakopee and losses to Eden Prairie and Holy Family.

Through 13 games, Bump was leading the Lakers in points with 24 (13 goals, 11 assists). He was followed by senior Jackson Anderson (4 goals, 8 assists), senior Riley Dueber (6 goals, 4 assists), ninth-grader Levi Eiter (4 goals, 6 assists) and senior Will Schumacher (4 goals, 6 assists).

Senior Trevor Boschee has played most of the minutes in goal, posting a 2.72 goals-against average and a .871 save percentage.

Boschee finished with 18 saves in the win over Apple Valley. Senior Blake Dicke chipped in two goals. Junior Ben Pfannenstein and senior Sam Rice each had two assists and Eiter had one.

In beating Shakopee, Prior Lake blew the game open with seven goals in the second period to go 9-1 heading into the final frame. Bump led the way with two goals and two assists, while senior Justin Kingery also had a pair of goals.

Dueber, Rice, Schumacher, Dicke and junior Joseph Rice each had one goal. Anderson, Schumacher, Dicke, Eiter, Sam Rice, Joseph Rice, sophomore Will Emerson, junior Parker Boyce and senior Justin Simonson each had an assist.

Junior Ben Mickett made the start in goal for the Lakers and finished with 11 saves.

Against Eden Prairie, it was a 4-4 game in the third period. The Eagles took the lead with a goal with 10:40 left to play and made it a two-goal cushion with 2:29 remaining.

Eiter and Dicke each had two goals for Prior Lake. Joseph Rice and Emerson both had two assists, while Kingery and sophomore Matthew Pavek each had one.

Mickett made 23 saves in goal, while Boschee also played in net and seven saves on nine shots.

Prior Lake closed out 2021 losing all three of its games in the Hockey for Life Classic at Dakotah Ice Arena Dec. 28-30. The Lakers lost 5-4 to Lakeville North, 6-2 to No. 2 Edina and 4-2 to Moorhead.

The game with Lakeville North also served as an SSC contest.

Section 2AA quarterfinal play starts Feb. 24 with the higher seed at home. The semifinals are Feb. 26 with the title game March 2 and both rounds will be played at Braemar Ice Arena in Edina.

Prior Lake has lost in the section semifinals nine of the last 11 seasons and in the first round in 2019. The Lakers made the section title game in 2016, but fell 4-2 to Eden Prairie.

Tom Schardin covers sports for Savage and Prior Lake. He is dependable, sarcastic and always joking around. Tom enjoys running and swimming and is often busy coaching his two kids' sports teams.