The Shakopee boys hockey team finally got its first playoff win as a Class 2A program, but that’s all it would get.
Second-seeded Minnetonka denied the third-seeded Sabers a spot in the Section 2AA title game with a 3-1 win in the semifinals Feb. 25 at Braemar Ice Arena in Edina.
Shakopee opened the playoffs with a 3-1 home victory over sixth-seeded Prior Lake in the quarterfinals Feb. 23. The victory snapped a 14-game playoff losing skid for the Sabers since the team joined the top class at the start of the 2007-08 school year.
Shakopee finished the season with a 16-11 overall record, 10-6 in the South Suburban Conference. It’s the Sabers’ second winning season in the last 17 years.
In 2021, Shakopee finished the regular season with a 9-6-3 record, but the team had to pull out of the Section 2AA tournament due to COVID-19 complications. Last winter, the Sabers were 12-13-1 overall, but lost 3-1 to Minnetonka in the section quarterfinals.
Shakopee coach Calvin Simon certainly has the Sabers heading in the right direction. One of the team’s top goals going into the season was picking up that elusive playoff win.
This year’s team had six seniors — Jackson Vogel, Ben Turcotte, Linus Toward, Sam Zovic, Zane Orchard and Lucas Larson. Vogel was second on the team in points with 55 (27 goals, 28 assists).
Sophomore Cooper Simpson led the team with 63 points (37 goals, 26 assists). Six of Shakopee’s top eight scorers were underclassmen, so there will be plenty of talent back next winter.
In the win over Prior Lake, Simpson led the Sabers with a pair goals. Shakopee overcame a 1-0 deficit after one period, scoring twice in the second frame.
Simpson made it 3-1 scoring 1:58 into the third period. Vogel also had a goal and an assist in the win, while ninth grader Carson Steinhoff had two assists and Turcotte and ninth graders Jack Kultgen and Cooper Siegert each had one.
Junior Aleksi Huson made 31 saves in goal for Shakopee.
In the loss to Minnetonka, Shakopee trailed 1-0 after the first period and was down 3-0 after two frames. The Sabers avoided the shutout when Simpson scored unassisted with 1:31 left to play in regulation.
Huson was busy in goal, finishing with 59 saves as the Skippers outshot the Sabers 62-17. Huson finished the season with a 3.21 goals-against average, a .906 save percentage and one shutout.
Toward was the Sabers’ third-leading scorer with 31 points (9 goals, 22 assists), followed by Siegert (6 goals, 17 assists), ninth grader Nate Pederson (8 goals, 14 assists), Steinhoff (2 goals, 20 assists), Kultgen (5 goals, 8 assists), junior Jake Marschall (3 goals, 7 assists), Larson (3 goals, 5 assists) and Orchard (8 assists).
Shakopee’s 10 conference wins this winter were the most for the program since it joined the 10-team league at the start of the 2014-15 season. The Sabers have 26 league wins the last three years, that’s 16 more than program had in the previous five seasons combined (6-91-4).