Prep boys hockey: Esterbrooks scores game-winner as Hermantown downs Moorhead
The Hawks scored twice in the third period to rally from a one-goal deficit and top the Spuds.
HERMANTOWN — With time winding in Hermantown’s game against Moorhead Friday, it appeared the the teams were going to need overtime to decide things.
With about 17 seconds left senior forward Dallas View sent a pass across the ice to Matt Kauppinen.
“Matt made a drop pass to me and I came down the right side and I shot at the top shelf,” junior defenseman Will Esterbrooks said. “I just shot and I couldn’t believe it, I looked at the clock and there’s 10 seconds left and I was just in shock.”
Esterbrooks’ goal gave the Hawks a 3-2 win over Moorhead, the reigning Section 8AA champion.
Hermantown had to dig deep to rally from a 2-1 deficit in the third period.
Following a scoreless first period, the Spuds’ Joe Kortan found the back of the net to put his team up. Hermantown tied it late in the period with a goal from Vieau, but just 18 seconds later, Aaron Reierson put the Spuds back up.
Hermantown coach Pat Andrews said the Hawks “just didn’t have our jam” in the first period and a pair of “fundamental breakdowns” on the defensive end resulted in both Moorhead goals. In the third, found their rhythm and started to push passes wide and use their speed to put more pressure on Spuds goalie Kai Weigel.
“I thought we just played simple and hard,” Andrews said. “We got pucks wide with speed, got pucks below their goal line and they just kept icing it. I felt like we turned the momentum on them.”
Moorhead’s top line of Joe Kortan, Ian Ness and Parker Gast were able to come in and got pucks below the Hermantown goal line and establish the team’s offensive zone, according to coach Jon Ammerman.
“Joe is the center and was in the mix all night, but Ian and Parker are also very fast,” Ammerman said. “To be honest, they established our game early and the (Caleb) Alderson line, which scored our second goal, gained some momentum late, but the Kortan line established our speed early and was maybe one of Joe’s best career games.”
Andrews thought that the Hawks' increasing depth was part of why they were able to put so much pressure on Weigel in the third period. Hermantown was bolstered by the return of Kade Kohanski, who has been out with a broken hand for much of the season, in the Hawks' win over Hibbing/Chisholm on Tuesday.
“I think that’s one of the reasons why we jumped,” Andrews said. “Our depth really showed in the third period. We still had speed, we had jump — that’s huge. Having Kade back solidifies the top six and he’s only going to get better. It’s a huge addition, but he’s not 100%.”
Hermantown (12-1-1) will play St. Thomas Academy Saturday at 2 p.m. in Mendota Heights.
Moorhead (8-8) will travel to Brainerd for a game at 3 p.m. Saturday.