Welcome to the Department of Picking Up Where We Left Off. Because if you thought Friday’s state semifinals in boys hockey were wild and woolly … hoo boy let’s talk about The Big Show in downtown St. Paul on Saturday afternoon, where Hermantown repeated as Class 1A champions in the craziest of ways.
The final score was Hermantown 4, Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake 3 in two overtimes. But let’s rewind the tape a bit and remind ourselves where we came from a day earlier.
When the MAML Moose beat Northfield 3-2 in the semifinals, winning-goal-scorer Nick Zwack called his shot “A hope and a prayer, I guess.” And after Hermantown defeated St. Cloud Cathedral 6-5 in overtime, Ryan Sandelin said of his winning goal: “I shot it and it happened to go in.”
OK. Now we have a theme. And here is the most fitting statement about top-seeded Hermantown’s victory Saturday: “The puck’s gotta go, like his shot. You throw it up there … it finds a hole. Puck luck really helps sometimes.”
That was head Hawk Bruce Plante after his 767th career game as a head coach. He was sitting at a table in front of a roomful of reporters; among the players at his sides was Dylan Samberg. As Plante said “like his shot” he motioned to Samberg, because it was Dylan’s shot in the second overtime that won the game.
“I think that’s part of it,” Plante said when asked about the role of luck in hockey.
Samberg’s shot went in at the right post, and he was asked if that’s where he intended for it to go. Give the kid credit for being honest, because he said, “Absolutely not. … I looked up and there were a lot of bodies in front of me and not a lot of time left. I just kind of threw it on net and I didn’t see anything else. I heard the thud at the back of the net and everyone started celebrating.”
Now here’s the twist on that celebration: it was the Hawks’ second
victory celebration of the game. The first came earlier with this sequence: Goal is scored … Hawks throw off their gloves and sticks and helmets and go nuts … the arena announcer says “The goal is under review” … and oh no what’s going on?
The video was watched by the replay officials in the press box, goaltender interference was the ruling and the Hawks jammed their hands back in their gloves, picked their sticks up off the ice, put their buckets back on their heads and got back to work.
If you’re the unseeded Moose, this is where you think, “Hey, they’ve got to somehow gear back up. Let’s score right now and take the cheese.”
“That was my hope,” said MAML coach Eric Nelson. “It’s hard to have your heart explode and then ripped out of your chest a little bit.”
The Hawks, however, got the job done in historic fashion.
“That’s never happened,” Plante said of his team scoring two “game-winning” goals. “We’ve never had that, where we’re all excited and happy and then they tell us it’s under review so we’re all a little stunned. We just had to get back at it.”Grand Rapids Takes Class 2A Title
The Thunderhawks defeated Moorhead 6-3 behind a three-goal effort by Gavin Hain. The state title is the fourth for Grand Rapids, which also won in 1975, 1976 and 1980.
Grand Rapids coach Trent Klatt became the first Mr. Hockey winner to coach a state championship team. He was Mr. Hockey in 1989 at Osseo High School.
Hain’s third goal gave Grand Rapids a 4-0 lead with 5:02 remaining in the second period. The Spuds responded by scoring twice in less than a minute for a 4-2 score but the Thunderhawks stayed in front the rest of the way. The final goal was into an empty net by Blake McLaughlin, his second of the game.Herb Brooks Award winners
Charlie Voller, Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake.Class 2A/
Micah Miller, Grand Rapids.All-Tournament Teams
Andrew Kruse, Ben Meyers, Delano; Casey Kallock, East Grand Forks; Jake Levinski, Jake Van Halbeck, St. Cloud Cathedral; Dylan Samberg, Jesse Jacques, Ryan Sandelin, Hermantown; Ben Ward, Charlie Voller, Nick Zwack, Tyler Klatt, Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake. Class 2A/
Casey Mittelstadt, Nolan Sullivan, Eden Prairie; Isaiah DiLaura, Joshua Ess, Lakeville South; Robbie Stucker, St. Thomas Academy; Carson Kosobud, Carter Randklev, Ethan Frisch, Moorhead; Blake McLaughlin, Gavin Hain, Micah Miller, Zach Stejskal, Grand Rapids.
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