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Celebration Time: Lakers Claim Section Title

03/06/2022, 9:00pm CST
By Tom Schardin

The state dream has finally become a reality for the Prior Lake boys hockey team.

Since becoming a Class 2A program at the start of the 2003-04 season, the Lakers have hit one playoff bump in the road after another — nine semifinal setbacks in the previous 11 years and a loss in the finals in 2016.

But this time, Prior Lake had the right bump on its side — Alex Bump.

The senior scored four goals to lift the fourth-seeded Lakers to a 7-4 victory over third-seeded Chaska in the Section 2AA title game March 2 in a jam-packed Braemar Ice Arena in Edina.

The Lakers (18-10 overall) will play in their first-ever Class AA state tournament March 10-12 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

“We’re gonna make a run at state; we’re not done yet,” said Bump, a Mr. Hockey finalist, who leads his team in points (75), goals scored (41) and assists (34), all single-season school records.

State brackets come out March 5 and will be available at legacy.mshsl.org.

Prior Lake beat top-seeded Eden Prairie 4-2 in the semifinals Feb. 26 at Braemer, and earned a 3-1 home win over fifth-seeded Holy Family in the quarterfinals Feb. 24.

The Lakers head into state with a 14-3 record since Jan. 8.

“It’s such an honor to win sections and get to state; we are the first team from Prior Lake to be going,” Bump said. “I knew this would be the group that would do it.”

Bump plays on the first line with seniors Will Schumacher and Sam Rice, and the three logged heavy minutes in the section title game. But they delivered, combining for six goals and five assists.

Chaska scored with 5:56 left to play cutting the Lakers’ lead to 5-4. The Hawks pulled their goalie, but to no avail. Schumacher scored on a long shot from his own zone into an empty-net with 1:20 left to play.

Bump, who will play Division I next year at the University of Vermont, iced the game with his final goal into an empty net with 27 seconds remaining.

Bump scored on a breakaway at the 6:24 mark of the third period, hitting the puck between the legs of Chaska goalie Carter Wishart for a 5-3 lead.

Prior Lake started the game as good as a team possibly could. Bump scored nine seconds into the contest.

Schumacher gave the Lakers a 2-1 lead with a goal with 1:17 left in the first period.

Both teams scored twice in the second period. Ninth-grader Levi Eiter gave the Lakers a 3-2 lead at the 7:54 mark of the frame, and Bump made it 4-2 with a goal 6:05 later.

Chaska wouldn’t go away, making it a 4-3 contest with a goal 29 seconds after Bump’s tally.

Rice led the Lakers with three assists, while senior Jackson Anderson had two and Bump, Schumacher and seniors Justin Simonson and Blake Dicke each had one.

Senior Trevor Boschee got the start in goal for Prior Lake and finished with 33 saves.

“We had to play the body and get pucks on net to win this game,” Bump said. “We did that. We played tough. Teams don’t like to go into the corners with us. We will outwork you.”

Semifinal win

That was the formula for Prior Lake in its semifinal win over Eden Prairie. Schumacher and senior Riley Dueber each had two goals to lead the Lakers.

Prior Lake played extremely physical in eliminating the top seed. Dueber scored both of his goals in the second period, including one shorthanded, to give his team a 3-1 lead.

Schumacher tallied 3:42 into the first period, and then iced the contest with an empty-net goal with 39 seconds to play.

Bump finished with two assists, while Boschee and Simonson both had one. Boschee also finished with 22 saves.

Prior Lake avenged a 6-4 loss at Eden Prairie back on Jan. 6. The Lakers also avenged a 3-1 loss to Holy Family in the season opener back on Dec. 2.

In the quarterfinal win over the Fire, Schumacher had two goals and an assist, while Bump had a goal and two assists. Rice also picked up an assist.

Boschee finished with 18 saves.

Schumacher is second on the Lakers in points heading into state with 52 (23 goals, 29 assists), followed by Rice (11 goals, 29 assists), Anderson (6 goals, 23 assists), Dueber (12 goals, 17 assists), senior Justin Kingery (9 goals, 9 assists), junior Joseph Rice (7 goals, 10 assists), Dicke (9 goals, 7 assists), Eiter (5 goals, 8 assists), Simonson (2 goals, 10 assists) and junior Ben Pfannenstein (8 assists).

Boschee has a 2.40 goals-against average, an 0.891 save percentage and three shutouts.

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