Prep boys hockey: Hermantown advances to 14th consecutive section final
Duluth Denfeld reached Wednesday's title game for the third year in a row by beating Hibbing/Chisholm.
DULUTH — Top-seeded Hermantown clamped down defensively to earn its state-leading 11th team shutout in a dominant 6-0 win over No. 5 seed Greenway in the Section 7A semifinals Friday at Amsoil Arena.
After harping on smart, responsible play in their own zone throughout the season, Hermantown coach Patrick Andrews was thrilled with the effort put forth by his team.
“We take a lot of pride in our D(efensive)-zone,” Andrews said. “As much as the power play and scoring goals get the headlines, we take tremendous pride in great D, and I think playing defense is very selfless. It doesn’t show up in the stat sheet, but great team defense wins you games, and we’ve been really good in our D end.”
Goals came in bunches for Hawks, who saw six different players find the back of the net. Andrews lauded the play of the team’s fourth line for providing a spark early on in the second period.
“We were able to get two right away, but we were kind of just playing so-so. Then that fourth line went out there with Carter Rother, Chase Sams and Swenner (Samuel Swenson), and they just shifted the entire momentum,” Andrews said. “(They) drew a penalty, went out and scored on the power play, scored the next shift, and we were kind of rolling. So it’s been great.”
Hermantown’s top line put the Hawks in front 1-0 less than three minutes into the opening period with a tic-tac-toe goal finished by Kade Kohanski. A pass from Zam Plante to his brother Max Plante started the play, as the quick puck movement left Kohanski with a wide-open net for his team-leading 18th marker of the season.
The trio has been united on the same line since pee-wees—creating an on-ice chemistry that Andrews has no intentions of tampering with.
“When they came in we were like, ‘Are we going to break them up? What do we do?’ And right from scrimmages (we said) we’re not touching this,” Andrews said. “They have that innate ability, just a sixth-sense of where they are on the ice all the time. They have an amazing ability to find each other and they’re all super unselfish.”
The Hawks remained a fixture in the offensive zone for the remainder of the period, but Greenway senior goaltender Nathan Jurganson stood tall in the face of a barrage of scoring chances.
The senior puckstopper was unable to track a shot from the point by Ty Hanson that glanced off of Dominic Thomas and into the net 11 minutes in, however, giving the Hawks a 2-0 lead after one period.
Greenway coach Andy Sertich felt good about how his team played in the opening period despite trailing by a pair of goals.
“Our first period was great in my mind. We were down 2-0. One kind of lucky bounce for them, which doesn’t help, but we came into that first intermission with some confidence (and) ready to go,” Sertich said.
Nearing the midway point of the second, the Raiders played with fire and got burned after giving the red-hot Hawks power play their first man-advantage opportunity. Hermantown entered the contest with six power play goals in its last eight opportunities over the past four games.
The Hawks extended their streak to seven for their last nine when Kohanski circled the Greenway net before dishing the puck to a wide-open Dallas Vieau for a backdoor tap-in goal. Less than a minute later, Zam Plante made it 4-0 Hermantown.
Goals by Jack Olson late in the second period and Gavin Blomdahl midway through the third sealed the Hawks' 6-0 victory.
Sophomore goaltender Dane Callaway turned aside all 13 shots for his fourth shutout of the season.
The win pushes the Hawks to their 14th consecutive Section 7A final, as they will take on Duluth Denfeld Wednesday at Amsoil Arena.
Greenway 0-0--0— 0
First period — 1, Hermantown, Kade Kohanski (Max Plante, Zam Plante), 2:45; 2, Hermantown, Dominic Thomas (Matthew Kauppinen, Ty Hanson), 11:06.
Second period — 3, Hermantown, Dallas Vieau (Kohanski, Zam Plante) (PP), 6:11; 4, Hermantown, Zam Plante (Max Plante, Beau Janzig), 6:44; Hermantown, Jack Olson (Kohanski, Max Plante), 14:22.
Third period — 6, Hermantown, Gavin Blomdahl (Max Plante, Hanson)Goalie saves — Greenway, Nathan Jurganson 46; Hermantown, Dane Callaway 13.
Duluth Denfeld 3, Hibbing/Chisholm 0
Cooper McClure bagged a pair of goals as the Hunters rolled into their third consecutive section final.
His first goal came just 47 seconds into the second period. The Bluejackets had a five-minute power play in the frame after a collision with but the only scorer was McClure, who delivered the shorthanded goal 4:04 into the period.
Andy Larson repeated his teammates feat by scoring in the first minute in the third period to make it 3-0.
The Hunters defense took it from there, working with goaltender Austin Wick to blank the sixth-seeded Bluejackets on 22 shots.
Connor McClure and Brady McGinn had two assists apiece for second-seeded Denfeld (19-8). Hibbing/Chisholm ends its season 13-14.