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Titans of the north set for Class A clash, while Class 2A schools in unfamiliar territory

Maple Grove, Andover make first title game appearances while Warroad, Hermantown look to add to championship legacies

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Warroad forward Daimon Gardner (13) puts the puck in score on Mahtomedi goaltender Ben Dardis (32) during the first period Friday, March 11, 2022, in the State Boys Hockey Tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

ST. PAUL — When Hermantown and Warroad played nearly two months ago, the Hawks needed overtime to separate the state's top two-ranked Class A teams.

Gavin Blomdahl fired a shot to give Hermantown a 2-1 win on home ice , but more will be at stake Saturday when the teams battle at The Xcel Energy Center for a title.

In the semifinals Friday, Hermantown (28-2) used a smothering defense and three power play goals for a dominating 7-1 win over Alexandria. A day earlier, the Hawks won 5-1 over New Prague.

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Warroad forward Gavin Blomdahl (9) takes a shot at Alexandria goaltender Teagan Pfeffer (31) during the third period Friday, March 11, 2022, in the State Boys Hockey Tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

The only losses this season for Hermantown came against Cretin-Derham Hall, which had been the top-ranked Class 2A team entering the state tournament, and Maple Grove, which will be playing for the Class 2A title.

Warroad cruised in the quarterfinals with a 7-1 win against Monticello. On Friday, the Warriors needed an overtime goal from Matthew Hard to advance 5-4 against Mahtomedi. Daimon Gardner notched a hat trick, giving him 45 goals this season for Warroad.

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Warroad forward Daimon Gardner (13) scores on Mahtomedi goaltender Ben Dardis (32) during the first period Friday, March 11, 2022, in the State Boys Hockey Tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

The only blemishes on the resume for Warroad (26-3-1) came within a two-week stretch in January: the Hermantown loss Jan. 15, along with losses to Wayzata and Roseau and a tie with Moorhead.

The puck drops at noon Saturday. Hermantown has won the state title three times (2007, 2016 and 2017) while Warroad has four titles (1994, 1996, 2003 and 2005).

Class 2A

Two teams with no previous title game appearances are set to square off for the chance to hang a banner.

Maple Grove (23-6-1) found plenty of offense to win a state quarterfinal game for the first time, and followed it up with a convincing 6-2 win in Friday's semifinal.

Now the Crimson hockey team will be playing for a championship banner for the first time in school history. Joshua Giuliani scored two goals in a 5-2 quarterfinal win over Edina and followed up with a hat trick in the semifinal against Prior Lake.

The Crimson played physical, and limited Prior Lake's high-scoring Alex Bump to one goal.

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Maple Grove forward Sawyer Skanson (7) and Prior Lake forward Will Schumacher (24) get tangled in the corner during the second period Friday, March 11, 2022, in the State Boys Hockey Tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

Andover (24-5-1) upset top-seed Hill-Murray in a 4-2 win to help the Huskies match the firsts of its title opponent.

Gavyn Thoreson scored the first and last goals, and added an assist, to send the Huskies to the championship. In the quarterfinals, Thoreson chipped in an overtime winner to lift Andover to a 2-1 win over Moorhead.

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Andover forward Gavyn Thoreson (12) celebrates after scoring an open net goal to seal the win against Hill-Murray during the third period Friday, March 11, 2022, in the State Boys Hockey Tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

While both teams might be new to the title game, Maple Grove and Andover split their regular-season matchups: Andover won 5-3 on Dec. 16 while Maple Grove won Andover 4-1 on Feb. 12.

The semifinals in photos

Swipe (on mobile) or click on the arrows (desktop) to check out photo galleries from each of Friday's semifinal games.

Warroad 5, Monticello 4 (OT)

Hermantown 7, Alexandria 1

Maple Grove 6, Prior Lake 2

Andover 4, Hill-Murray 2

Follow the Minnesota boys hockey postseason with state tournament information and brackets from every section.

As director of digital content development for Forum Communications, Wagner oversees digital training tools for newsrooms, audience engagement and niche content areas.
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