Hockey is a game of skates and sticks and pucks and goals, but more than that hockey is a game that will always surprise you. The latest installment of this truth took place during Friday’s Class 1A state semifinals at Xcel Energy Center.
Both contests went down to the wire and beyond. In the first game, Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake rallied from a 2-0 deficit and defeated Northfield 3-2 on a goal that was scored with three seconds left in regulation. In the second semifinal, Hermantown came back from a 5-2 deficit and beat St. Cloud Cathedral 6-5 in overtime.
The winning goals were, uh, shall we say, wacky. Truthfully, we don’t even have to say that because the kids who scored them said it for us.
Nick Zwack of the MAML Moose knocked in the game-winner against Northfield. Asked to describe the shot afterwards, he grinned and said, “A hope and a prayer, I guess.”
Hermantown’s Ryan Sandelin (shown here in the pink bike helmet that the Hawks award to the player of the game) had himself a fairly nice day, scoring four goals against Cathedral. He knocked in the winner in overtime, and went into great detail in recounting it to the media: “I shot it and it happened to go in.”
A hope and a prayer. A shot that happened to go in. C’mon man, what’s better than that?Advice from the coach
Sandelin scored in each of the first three periods before his game-buster in overtime. His third goal came 55 seconds into the third period to make the score Cathedral 5, Hawks 4. Elliott Peterson made it 5-5 at 5:42 of the third.
After Sandelin’s third goal, Hermantown coach Bruce Plante offered him some instructions on the bench.
“He’s a guy with energy,” Plante said. “I just hugged him and whispered in his ear, ‘You’ve got to do it tonight because some of the guys are playing with flat tires. It’s gotta be you, it’s gotta be you.’ ”
And it was.Number of the day
66: That’s how many shots on goal Hermantown had Friday (credit Cathedral goaltender Jake Levinski for stopping 60 of them). The state tournament record for shots on goal in an overtime game is 69 by Duluth East vs. Apple Valley in 1996. Gutsiest kid in the tournament
Northfield senior Ryan Bielenberg had a phenomenal game Friday, making 37 saves in the Class 1A state semifinals. He felt terrible, however, about giving up the game-winning goal to MAML in the final seconds. But give the young man credit for agreeing to meet the media afterwards. He answered questions, he spoke clearly, and when asked if the puck was deflected or took a strange flight, he made no excuses.
In the midst of that disappointment, Ryan said this about his experience in the tournament: “It was amazing. It was awesome. There’s nothing I would trade it for.”
“Ryan played great all game and played great all year,” said Raiders coach Mike Luckraft.Update on the kitty cat shirt
As noted here earlier, Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake coach Eric Nelson’s good-luck charm is a kitty cat shirt that he wears under his jacket during games. After the Moose’s dramatic win Friday, he was asked if he’s still wearing it.
He laughed and said, “You had to bring it up, didn’t you? I’ve got people walking up to me on the street, trying to pull my shirt out.”Social media around the world (continued)
This Twitter message came from someone in Spain: “I'm guessing my son and I just might be the only two people of the 6.5 million people in Madrid watching Hermantown-SCC in OT right now.”Sportsmanship alert
After Wayzata and Minneapolis South met in a Class 4A Section 6 boys basketball tournament game Wednesday night, this email was sent to administrators at Wayzata: Just a note to let you know about the game last night… It was a highly contested game with a lot of fouls that were called by the officials….. you and I know that each call an official makes, half of the crowd agrees with them and the other half disagrees with them…. anyway, your coach not only coached a GREAT game, he also took it upon himself to quiet some of the Wayzata fans who were very vocal and very demonstrative in disagreeing with the officials. He turned to the group of Wayzata fans behind their bench and motioned to calm down both with their physical gestures and their vocal disagreements.
It is very refreshing to see coaches react this way.
Please commend him not only for his coaching abilities but how he handled the situation above. Please share this email with him.
Roosevelt High School
BY THE NUMBERS
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