John's Journal
It’s Time For Class 2A At Girls State Hockey2/18/2016
If it’s Thursday we must be at the Xcel Energy Center for the Class 2A girls state hockey quarterfinals. The Class 1A field completed their quarterfinals Wednesday and are playing consolation-bracket games today at Ridder Arena.

The 1A quarterfinal results were …

--Warroad beat Northfield 3-0

--St. Paul United beat Alexandria 2-0

--Blake beat Luverne 10-0

--Proctor/Hermantown beat New Prague 2-1

And here are today’s Class 2A quarterfinal games…

--Eastview (18-6-4) vs. #2 Edina (19-7-1), 11 a.m.

--Forest Lake (18-7-3) vs. #3 Eden Prairie (19-7-2), 30 minutes after conclusion of 11 a.m. game

--Sartell/Sauk Rapids (21-7) vs. #1 Hill-Murray (27-0-1), 6 p.m.

--#5 Lakeville South (20-5-2) vs. #4 Maple Grove (20-5-2), 30 minutes after conclusion of 6 p.m. game

*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 490
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 8,311
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn

52 Minus 1 Equals A Victory For Edina2/18/2016
Fifty-two. Or if you prefer brevity, 52. That’s how many shots on goal were recorded in Thursday’s Class 2A girls hockey state semifinal game between Edina and Eastview.

Of those 52 shots, 51 were stopped by goaltenders Anna Goldstein (Edina) and Emma Tschida (Eastview). The shot that mattered the most got past Tschida at 7:44 of the third period, fired into the net by Edina’s Emily Odin.

Edina’s 1-0 victory moved the second-seeded Hornets into Friday’s semifinals. It also moved Eastview into the consolation bracket at Ridder Arena. And for fans of pure hockey, it was moving indeed.

The Hornets had allowed only 34 goals in 27 games this season. Eastview’s opponents had scored 50 times in 28 games. The teams had arrived at state in strikingly different manners, though.

Edina defeated Section 6 opponents Benilde-St. Margaret’s and Wayzata by identical scores of 6-0. In Section 3, Eastview opened with an 8-1 win over Rosemount, followed by two overtime decisions: 3-2 over East Ridge and 4-3 over Eagan.

“Our girls didn’t quit. They were solid until the end,” Eastview coach Herb Harvey said after Thursday’s game. "We just didn’t get the bounce. Pucks were hitting skates and shin pads. They got the one decent opportunity and ended up scoring.”

This game was a lesson in defense … but with a capital D. The skaters had to work hard to put those 52 pucks on net, with defenders buzzing and swatting and goaltenders stretching and bending.

“Their goalie played awesome,” said Oden. “I just knew I had to get a shot at least on net.”

Eastview had not previously lost a 1-0 game this season; its only 1-0 decision was a victory over Hastings.

“They definitely crash the net hard and try to create opportunities with rebounds,” Tschida said in the postgame news conference. “Our defense did a real good job of trying to shut them down.”

At which point her teammate Natalie Snodgrass turned to Emma and said, “So did you.”

Capital D.


The Eagles scored twice in the first period and twice in the third to advance to the semifinal round against Edina.

Eden Prairie and Edina met twice during the Lake Conference season, with Eden Prairie winning 1-0 and Edina winning 2-1 in overtime. Close finishes is a trend when those teams meet.

“The last four times we played them, it was either in overtime or decided in the final minute of play,” said Eagles coach Jaime Grossman. “Every time we play them it’s a 50-50 game. I think we’re fairly evenly matched teams.”

Eden Prairie junior Naomi Rogge, who had a goal and an assist Thursday, said, “Oh yeah, there’s nothing better than playing against Edina. Getting the opportunity to play the game here is going to be really incredible.”


The two-time defending state champion Pioneers outshot Sartell/Sauk Rapids 50-9 and got goals from five different players in advancing to Friday’s semifinals.


Lauren Kauffman had a hat trick as the Crimson moved into Friday’s semifinals against Hill-Murray.


Forest Lake junior forward Madi Nolan, asked about the large contingent of Rangers students who were in attendance: “They were happy. They got to miss school.”


--Warroad vs. St. Paul United, 11 a.m.

--Blake vs. Proctor/Hermantown, 30 minutes after conclusion of first game

--Edina vs. Eden Prairie, 6 p.m.

--Hill-Murray vs. Maple Grove, 30 minutes after conclusion of 6 p.m. game

*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 490
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 8,311
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
Welcome To The Girls State Hockey Tournament2/17/2016
This is the week that all girls hockey teams dream about, and 16 such teams are gathered for the state tournament at Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul.

The spotlight today (Wednesday) falls on Class 1A, with four state quarterfinals being played. First up today is Northfield (19-9) vs. third-seeded Warroad (23-3-1) at 11 a.m., followed by …

--Alexandria (18-7-1) vs. third-seeded St. Paul United (21-5-1)

--Luverne (20-6) vs. top-seeded Blake (23-2-2)

--Fifth-seeded New Prague (17-8-1) vs. fourth-seeded Proctor/Hermantown (19-7-1).

It’s going to be a great day of hockey.

Class 1A Girls Hockey Semifinals Are Set2/17/2016
The Warroad Warriors have been to the girls state hockey tournament six times before this year, and they have played in five state championship games. The second-seeded Warriors moved one step closer to another title appearance Wednesday with a 3-0 victory over first-time entrant Northfield in the Class 1A quarterfinals at Xcel Energy Center.

In the day’s second game, fourth-seeded St. Paul United beat Alexandria 2-0. In the evening session, top-seeded Blake beat Luverne 10-0 and fourth-seeded Proctor/Hermantown beat fifth-seeded New Prague 2-1.

Warroad won state titles in 2010 and 2011and were runners-up in 2006, 2009 and 2013. The Warriors' other trip to state came in 2012.

The first period Wednesday was as even as they come, with each team putting seven shots on goal and neither team scoring. The third period also was pretty well an even affair. The spillway opened for Warroad (24-3-1) in the second period when the Warriors outshot Northfield 15-2 and scored all three goals.

Demi Gardner cracked the ice at 6:26 and she scored again at 10:27. Sara Baumann made it 3-0 with a goal at 11:44. The final shots on goal were 36-12 in Warroad’s favor.

“I was really proud of them,” said Northfield coach Brent Bielenberg. “That first period, we played solid. We stepped back a little bit in the second period.”

One side story to the game was the large crowd from Northfield (19-10).

“How about that fan base from Northfield, huh? That was good to see,” Bielenberg said. Northfield sophomore Mallory Tidona said, “Everyone from our school came and it was really cool seeing all the support we had.”

Warroad coach David Marvin said, “Tip your cap to Northfield. That was maybe the biggest following I’ve seen from a school in the six years I’ve coached here.”

--St. Paul United (22-5-1) outshot Alexandria 32-23, getting goals by Joie Phelps in the first period and an empty-net shorthanded goal by Samantha Burke late in the third.

--Blake didn’t give up a shot on goal until the third period, by which time the Bears led 7-0 and had put 51 shots on net. Carly Bullock scored four goals and Lily Delianedis scored two for the Bears.

--Proctor/Hermantown (20-7-1) outshot New Prague (17-10-1) by a margin of 29-10 but the game went down to the wire. After a scoreless first period, New Prague led 1-0 on a second-period goal by Catie Skaja. The Mirage took control on goals by Reilly Albert and Sophie McGovern in the second.


The Proctor/Hermantown “Mirage” nickname was chosen by the team's first members. They wanted something different, and the name was taken from a car driven by one of the players: A Mitsubishi Mirage.

--Class 2A quarterfinal games will be played Thursday. Here is the schedule...

--Eastview (18-6-4) vs. #2 Edina (19-7-1), 11 a.m.

--Forest Lake (18-7-3) vs. #3 Eden Prairie (19-7-2), 30 minutes after conclusion of 11 a.m. game

--Sartell/Sauk Rapids (21-7) vs. #1 Hill-Murray (27-0-1), 6 p.m.

--#5 Lakeville South (20-5-2) vs. #4 Maple Grove (20-5-2), 30 minutes after conclusion of 6 p.m. game
It’s A Big Job Replacing A Legend In Chisholm 2/14/2016
CHISHOLM – When Larry Pervenanze received a job promotion last year, one of the changes was very small: He slid one spot to his left on the home team bench in the Chisholm gym. The aisle seat is on a row of blue plastic bleachers, where the previous occupant sat for 53 years.

Pervenanze was an assistant coach under Bob McDonald for 12 years, and when McDonald retired after the 2013-14 season, he made it clear that he wanted Larry to take over as Chisholm’s fourth boys basketball coach since 1923.

McDonald won more games than any coach in any sport in Minnesota history and is a member of the National High School Hall of Fame.

Did somebody say pressure?

“Yeah, I think there is pressure. He’s a legend,” Pervenanze (pictured) said before the Bluestreaks played host to Hibbing last week. “Being able to be with him for 12 years as an assistant, the stuff he taught me, it was a lot. It was fun being around him, and all his knowledge from 60 years of basketball.”

McDonald’s teams had a well-known identity: Short haircuts, players in jackets and ties on game day, relentless defensive pressure. None of that has changed under Pervenanze, but other adjustments have been made.

“I think Larry wanted to put his stamp on the team, with what they do and how they do it,” said McDonald’s son Joel, who has been the Hibbing coach for 17 years. “They play more man (defense) than they ever did. They run different plays.”

Hibbing defeated the Bluestreaks 93-69, giving Chisholm a record of 9-14 this season. It’s a young team and Pervenanze is optimistic.

“I have four seniors but only two played last year. We’re young,” he said. “We have 10 freshmen and they’re getting a lot of playing time, especially four of them. But now one of them is out with an injury. I’ve got three of them that are playing a lot, and one junior, one sophomore. The future looks good. Hopefully in the next couple years we can bring Chisholm basketball back.”

Bob McDonald, not wanting to cast a shadow over his successor and the program he led for so many years, does not attend boys games in Chisholm. He’s a regular fan at Hibbing girls basketball games to watch his ninth-grade granddaughter Abbey (Joel’s daughter) play on the varsity team. Joel also has a son, Ayden, who is in sixth grade.

“There’s still a presence that he has in the program, even though he would be the first to tell you that he’s totally left it up to Larry,” Joel said. “He doesn’t come here much. I think about a month ago he came to watch my son play over here, and I think that was the first time he was in the gym since he retired. It was really cool being able to walk back in here with him for the first time, and it was really special that he was watching my son play.”

Bob McDonald sometimes attends practices in Hibbing and assists Joel’s team when he can. He also likes to surprise Joel’s family by dropping off treats at their house.

“He keeps busy by running to the bakery every day, and running to the deli every day, and dropping donuts and bread and salami and candy off at my house when I’m not there,” Joel said. “So I come home and there’s a bag of goodies waiting for me in the doorway. And if I ate everything he dropped off I think I’d be about 300 pounds.

“He’s finding ways to keep busy during the day and he ends up at our practices quite a bit. He just kind of hangs out on the side, works with some guys every now and then; maybe they’re on the side, not shooting a true jump shot, so he’ll grab them and lecture them a little bit, trying to get that out of them.”

Pervenanze is almost an outlander in Chisholm, since he grew up six miles away in Buhl. His high school teams (he graduated in 1984) played against Chisholm every year, and he has vivid memories of Bob McDonald as an opposing coach.

“The 1-2-2 press is the thing that comes back to me,” he said. “You knew it was coming and he emphasized that. Even when I came on board (as assistant coach) he emphasized the 1-2-2 press. We switched around, went to a 3-2, but the 1-2-2 was his bread and butter.”

Pervenanze, who works for the city of Chisholm public works department, laughs about a Buhl native coaching in Chisholm.

“For a Buhl guy to come over to Chisholm? Who woulda thought it? And then to become a coach here? I would have never dreamed of it.

“When the position came open, my sister-in-law said, ‘There’s an assistant boys basketball job open. Why don’t you apply for it?’ At the last minute I applied and I was basically the only one who put my name in.”

Joel McDonald coached against his dad’s teams for many years, and the father won more of those games than the son did.

“There were a lot of games, I’m sure, when it was just a matter of him outcoaching me,” Joel said. “He just seemed to make the right adjustment at the right time and he seemed to find a way to get our guys to panic a little bit. That was kind of his M.O., so to speak, to get that out of a lot of opponents, regardless of where they played but particularly here.”

Pervenanze now sits in that first seat on the bench, shouting many of the same instructions that have been heard in the Chisholm gym for half a century, in a voice that’s not quite as deep as Bob McDonald’s famous baritone.

“Larry definitely has his stamp on it,” Joel McDonald said, “and it’s really cool that there are some things that still remain from the regime that was here forever, it seemed.”

*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 474
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 8,173
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn