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Mahtomedi's Charlie Drage makes up for previous misses, his late goal beats Hermantown

Drage scored with 49 seconds left for Mahtomedi in state semifinal.

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Hermantown forward Kade Kohanski (11) and Mahtomedi forward Jimmy Egan (21) battle for the puck in the first period Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

ST. PAUL — With time winding down and the score tied in the state semifinal against Mahtomedi on Friday at the Xcel Energy Center, Hermantown was pushing the puck up the ice for a final opportunity before the game went to overtime.

Zephyrs’ senior Charlie Drage intercepted a pass from Josh Kauppinen to George Peterson and put a shot past Hermantown goalie Dane Callaway with 49 seconds remaining.

The goal put the Zephyrs in front and they held off Hermantown’s furious attack over the final moments of the game for a 2-1 win and a spot in the state Class A championship game Saturday.

“Right before that I missed two,” Drage said. “I missed a backdoor tip and on a great pass from Corey (Bohmert) and then David (Wolsfeld) said ‘You’re going to get one back.’ Then I saw that cross-ice pass come, read it and then I saw all four of them go into the zone. There was one back deep in the zone, I took my ice and then just fired. It felt so good when it went in.”


Hermantown coach Pat Andrews could do little but tip his cap on a great play. Andrews estimated Drage put the puck in a space 6 inches wide.

“I don’t even know where it went,” Andrews said. “Dane didn’t give him much, just beat him. I told Dane that, too. He played out of his mind, he had some huge saves — he’s great for us. We have to score more than a goal, that’s not on the goalie, but the kid made a hell of a play, hats off to him.”

Neither team took advantage of a power play opportunity, but Hermantown missed on a two-man advantage in the first period. The penalty kill for both teams was excellent, Andrews said.

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Mahtomedi celebrates their win against Hermantown Friday, March 10, 2023, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

“The penalty kills were outstanding for both teams, the kids executed,” Andrews said. “You forget, you get a power play and you’re supposed to score, right? But if they’re only successful 30% of the time, you’re doing good. We had a 5-on-3, we’d like to bury it, but at the same time credit them and then conversely, I thought we did awesome on the kill too. We gave them nothing, we almost scored a couple shorties. I told the guys, it’s hockey and sometimes you don’t get that one.”


The Zephyrs thought they had taken the lead in the first when a puck skirted the goal line, but after a lengthy review the goal was waved off. The Hawks seized the opportunity with Dallas Vieau scoring off a pass from Kade Kohanski about 30 seconds after the review.

Jonny Grove got the equalizer about two minutes after Vieau scored and the game remained tied until Drage scored in the final minute of play.

In a matchup at Hockey Day Minnesota on Jan. 28 in White Bear Lake, Hermantown topped Mahtomedi 6-3. Since that day, Drage has scored 33 points, including the game-winner at the state tournament. Drage credited the “chemistry” of his line, but Zephyrs coach Jeff Poeschl pointed to some new equipment.

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Hermantown defender George Peterson (22) passes the puck in front of Mahtomedi forward David Wolsfeld (4) in the first period Friday, March 10, 2023, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live


“We also purchased a skate sharpener,” Poeschl said. “If you were at the outdoor game, you know Charlie’s got a great shot, but one of his other biggest weapons is his feet and he lost an edge late in the first period. We had no sharpener, we had no access to a sharpener, so a big reason he was minus-3 that day was one of his biggest weapons was gone. But to reiterate, that line has been dynamite since that point in the season.”

Andrews and Hawks players were emotional after the loss, but he was proud of the way they performed and noted they still have another game.

“They left it on the ice, they’re exhausted, they’re heartbroken,” Andrews said. “We didn’t lose because somebody blew an edge, we didn't lose because somebody’s a goat, didn’t lose off a fluke. We lost off a great play and at the end of the day, if you’re going to lose, it sucks, but you lose after a great play. It was a great play, so credit them and I told them they still have a lot to play for. The third place game is a weird game — nobody wants to be there, but it still matters, it really does, and not too many teams get to finish the year with a win.”

Hermantown (26-3-1) will play in the third place game at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center.


The Class A championship game is at noon.

Mahtomedi 1-0-1—2

Hermantown 1-0-0—1

First period scoring —1. H, Dallas Vieau (Kade Kohanski), 13:36; 2. M, Jonny Grove (Seth Nelson, Carson Marshall), 15:54.

Second period scoring — No scoring.

Third period scoring — 3. M, Charlie Drage (unassisted), 16:11.

Saves — Charlie Brandt, M, 25; Dane Callaway, H, 21.

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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