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Orange Lutheran, JSerra lose opening games at U.S. Hockey Nationals

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The Golden State got all it could handle from the State of Hockey to open the USA Hockey High School Pure Division Nationals.

Orange Lutheran and JSerra kept things tight but ultimately fell to Edina of Minnesota, 3-1, and Wayzata of Minnesota, 3-2, respectively, to open pool play at Ashburn Ice House in Ashburn, Va., on Thursday.

While the opening loss is a setback, both teams can look to their Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League rival for inspiration. Santa Margarita lost its opening game in last year’s Nationals before making a run to the final.

“It gives us more of a sense of urgency,” Orange Lutheran coach Dan Adams said. “We know we have to win both games for a chance at the quarterfinals.”

Orange Lutheran comes back Friday against Downingtown East of Pennsylvania, and JSerra takes on reigning national champion Regis Jesuit of Colorado.

Minnesota Hockey state champion Edina (1-0-0) put back-to-back CAHA state champion Orange Lutheran (0-1-0) on its heels with an even strength goal just under seven minutes into the first period.

“(Edina) is older, bigger, stronger than a lot of our guys,” Adams said. “They put on a really strong forecheck and we struggled breaking it.”

The Lancers responded two minutes later as Shane Vidger cashed in on the power play with assists from Jacob Heller and Ryan Fischer.

Edina retook the lead for good on a power play of its own in the final minute of the period as the Hornets set up a screen in front of OLu goaltender AJ Frosh.

“AJ didn’t even see that,” Adams said “I could see how completely blocked he was from the bench. Put it up top right where he couldn’t get it.”

Frosh made 21 saves.

The Lancers kept with Edina until their momentum came to a halt after a hit from behind into the boards on defenseman Ryan Adams in the third period.

Adams didn’t move initially but did become responsive and alert. Adams was on his back for 20 minutes before being taken off on a stretcher and to the hospital as a precaution.

Orange Lutheran couldn’t come back, and Edina scored an insurance marker on the power play for the 3-1 final.

“The delay slows everything down. We get out of rhythm and came out flat,” Adams said. “That deflates everybody, and its tough to continue.”

Adams was encouraged by what he saw against an Edina team that scored nine goals against Orange Lutheran last year.

“I’m pleased with out effort in two periods,” Adams said. “We were right in that game.”

Wayzata (MN) 3, JSerra 2: The ADHSHL champion Lions (0-1-0) scored early and pushed late but couldn’t overcome power play goals by Minnesota runner-up Wayzata (1-0-0) in the pool play opener.

Jacob Hager was sprung on a breakaway by Mason Pilkington and scored for the 1-0 lead three and a half minutes into the game.

Wayzata scored power play goals to close the first period and open the second to put JSerra down, 2-1. The Trojans added another in the second for a 3-1 lead.

Jacob Brunelle blasted a goal late in the second from Austin Foster and Pilkington to keep JSerra close into the third.

JSerra had opportunities, including a two-man advantage and a power play with a pulled goalie in the final minute, but couldn’t score.

The Lions didn’t score on their five power play attempts.

Landon Pavlisin made 20 saves.

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