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After 28 years, Minneapolis wins section title and punches ticket to state tournament

With a 3-1 Section 2A championship win over Delano, this is the first Minneapolis public school team that will be present at the state tournament since 1994.

Will Pankratz and Jack Hanson warm up in front of a sold-out crowd at the St. Louis Park Rec Center before the Section 2A matchup on Wednesday, Feb. 2.
Sydney Wolf / The Rink Live

ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. — For the first time since 1994, a Minneapolis public school team will be present at the state tournament. The co-op Minneapolis team won the Section 2A championship against Delano on Wednesday night by a final score of 3-1.

Consistency was key in the Section final game, with No. 1-seeded Minneapolis (ranked fifth in the state) having to find a way around No. 2-seeded Delano (ranked third in the state). Minneapolis would score once per period in order to come out with the win in front of a sold-out rink at the St. Louis Park Rec Center.

Minneapolis sophomore John Bebler was a crucial part of the win on Wednesday, netting two goals of his own to give his team the early lead throughout the first two periods.


Delano would attempt to rally in the third, scoring their lone goal of the night from senior Jesse Peterson, but that wouldn't be enough since Minneapolis captain Zander Zoia would answer back within a minute and a half of play.

After the buzzer sounded, Delano's season would end with a 20-8-0 record, while Minneapolis will be headed to the Xcel Energy Center next week for the state tournament at 21-6-1.


Minneapolis head coach Joe Dzeidzic is in his 10th year with the team and is no stranger to the ice or to the city. Dzeidzic played for Minneapolis Edison back in high school and earned the prestigious Mr. Hockey award in 1990. He then went on to play for the University of Minnesota and also played professional before turning to coaching.

With its ticket punched to the state tournament, Minneapolis will now be awaiting their seeding to find out who they play next week on Wednesday in St. Paul.

Sydney Wolf is a reporter for The Rink Live, primarily covering youth and high school hockey. She joined the team in November of 2021 and graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in Mass Communications and a minor in Writing and Rhetoric Studies.
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