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Class 2A: Hornets Weather The Storm

Edina goalie makes two admissions after state championship win.

Edina players celebrate on the Xcel Energy Center ice after a 2-1 victory for the Class 2A state championship. (MHM Photo / Rick Olson)

Edina goalie Joe Bertram admitted he watched himself on the videoboard at Xcel Energy Center, but it certainly didn’t affect his play.

“It’s fun to watch yourself up there,” Bertram said, after a 2-1 win over Chanhassen for the Class 2A boys’ state hockey title on March 9.

Bertram delivered 33 saves and had a .971 save percentage as he helped the Hornets bounce back from a 2023 state championship loss against Minnetonka by the same 2-1 score. In addition, he matched the achievement of his father, Matt Bertram, who helped Edina win it all in 1988.

“He’s always had that one up on me with the state championship, and now I’ve got it, so I’m right there with him,” the younger Bertram said.

Edina goalie Joe Bertram made 33 saves in net during the state championship game. (MHM Photo / Rick Olson)

Hornets coach Curt Giles liked how Bertram withstood a flurry of shots for Chanhassen in the final minutes. The Storm skaters, down a goal, couldn’t find a way past Bertram to knot the game up.

“I’m glad he saw [the puck] like a beach ball because that looked like a peanut to me,” Giles said.

Bertram felt locked in. The Storm had 10 third-period shots and outshot Edina 34-23 for the game.

“You know, it actually went by pretty quick,” Bertram said, of the final minutes. “When the game is happening so fast and with them putting pressure on, I wasn’t looking at the clock too much. It’s just worrying about the puck.”

Bertram kept Chanhassen from writing a perfect finish to a storybook state tournament appearance. The Storm captured the state’s attention with a 2-1 upset of once-unbeaten Minnetonka in the Section 2 title game on Feb. 29 to reach the program’s first-ever state tournament.

“From the first game they played, two or three years ago now, they competed,” said Chanhassen coach Sean Bloomfield. “A passion allowed them to learn the game really well. They embraced how to become a better hockey player on and off the ice. That’s why they got to where they did.”

Chanhassen looked poised to finish the story with a perfect ending after a defensive first period. The Storm broke through for a goal by Tyler Smith in the second period. Chanhassen outshot Edina 24-14 through two periods, sparked mainly by a 14-5 second period.

Edina committed penalties in the first two periods, but the Hornets killed both power plays. Bertram had his hands full in net with numerous close calls, but his teammates helped prevent another puck going in.

Chanhassen’s Tyler Smith celebrates scoring a goal for a 1-0 lead in the state title game against Edina. (MHM Photo / Rick Olson)

Chanhassen’s Gavin Uhlenkamp gave the Hornets defense trouble in the first two periods with five shots on goal, and Andy Earl had eight shots on goal. Mason West had the most success attacking the net for the Hornets with four shots on goal.

Edina broke through early in the third period as Robby Hoch found a seam to fire the puck through. The Hornets sniped a second goal with Bobby Cowan firing a power-play goal with 6:55 remaining.

“I always shoot the puck. If you don’t shoot it’s not going to go in,” Cowan said. “This one got the better of him, but props to him. He played great, too.”

Chanhassen didn’t have an answer after that point. Edina players really wanted to put the sting of last year’s title game loss behind them in the process.

“This group of kids that we had this year was one of the easiest groups we’ve ever had to get prepared to play hockey. They wanted to win today,” Giles said. “They wanted to do it today. They had a desire. We could tell they wanted to win this very, very badly.”

Matthew Davis is an experienced Sports Reporter and has covered Olympic, professional, collegiate and high school athletes for various newspapers and websites. He won a North Dakota Newspaper Association sports reporting award in 2008. He has a degree in Mass Communication from North Dakota State University.

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