With the 2020-21 season still months out, it’s time to take a look at teams from all over the State of Hockey and examine what happened this past season and what’s ahead. The next team we’re breaking down is Chaska.
How last season went
The Hawks have picked up steam in recent years as a rising program in the West Metro. During the 2019-20 season, that came to a fruition of sorts.
Though Chaska struggled early, that changed in the late stages of the regular season. The Hawks rattled off some key victories, including those against Prior Lake, Benilde-St. Margaret’s and Centennial. Eventually, Chaska settled on a 14-9-2 record and an 8-2 conference record that was good enough for second place in the Metro West Conference.
Heading into Section 2AA, the Hawks have never had overwhelming success. But that changed. It started with a 6-3 win against Holy Family. Then, they shocked the hockey world in the semifinals. Playing top-seeded Prior Lake, Chaska roared to a 4-1 win giving the Hawks a chance a state tournament berth for the first time in more than 20 years.
In the section final, it was Chaska against section heavyweight Eden Prairie. After the Eagles roared ahead, the Hawks nearly pulled off the epic comeback but came up short in a 3-2 loss.
Who’s back and who’s gone
Seeingplay as a freshman on Chaska, it was no secret he was a dynamo player after tallying 20 goals and 21 assists. USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP) also noticed and lured Snuggerud to leave the Hawks and join the NTDP based in Michigan.
Besides Snuggerud, key seniors are also gone such as Shane Lavelle, Nick Olmschied and Bauer Berry. This trio combined for 31 goals and 49 assists.
Two players who have the chance to improve upon last season’s results are Zach Selton and. Selton poured in 14 goals and 16 assists last season. His most important contributions likely came against Prior Lake in the section tournament when he added two goals and an assist. Wishart looks to return as goaltender after posting a 2.46 goals against average and .883 save percentage.
What to expect next season
Chaska has certainly been trending in the right direction in recent seasons despite the fact the Hawks reside in a section with big school powers such as Eden Prairie and Prior Lake. If the Hawks can reload, watch out.