Louie St. George
- Member for
- 4 years 10 months
HOCKEY DAY MINNESOTA Micah Gernander's introduction to high school hockey in Minnesota was a doozy. Despite being raised out east, Gernander knew all about the Greenway program his dad starred for and his grandpa coached, including the Raiders' fervent rivalry with neighboring Grand Rapids. So when Gernander's family moved to the Iron Range last summer, he took notice of Greenway's opening opponent for the 2018-19 season. The Raiders went into a jam-packed IRA Civic Center on Nov. 24 and defeated Grand Rapids 4-1 in front of a few thousand rowdy fans.
Coming into the 2018-19 boys hockey season, Greenway was widely pegged as a state championship contender in Class A. The Raiders returned much of the personnel that produced a 20-8 mark last year and took Hermantown to double overtime in the Section 7A final. This winter, though, hasn't stuck to the script, with Greenway limping along at 6-12. The Raiders can turn things around and jumpstart their playoff push Saturday on frozen Lake Bemidji during the 13th annual Hockey Day Minnesota.
A lean and lanky 6-foot junior guard with a dependable jump shot, nobody would blame Peter Soumis for instigating Hermantown's dizzying offense from the perimeter. But that's not his style. Soumis likes to muck it up with the bigs occasionally, attacking the basket while absorbing contact and goading defenders into a foul. He's pesky that way, about what you'd expect from someone who grew up standing his ground against two big brothers.
PREP BOYS HOCKEY / HERMANTOWN 9, DULUTH DENFELD 1 Given all that upstart Duluth Denfeld had accomplished through the first half of the boys hockey season, Hermantown had no problem taking the Hunters seriously Thursday night at Heritage Center. That was especially true following Denfeld's near-shocker against Duluth East on Monday night. Losing 2-1 in overtime to the fifth-ranked team in Class AA raised some eyebrows.
PREP NEWSMAKER / WRESTLING As the 2017-18 wrestling regular season wound down, Grand Rapids' Kellen Schauer couldn't have asked for better circumstances. Ranked as high as third among 138-pounders, he had won 50 matches without a single loss. Then, near the end of the Thunderhawks' first postseason practice, Schauer was grappling with a teammate when he "landed funny." Only it wasn't the "ha ha" kind of funny, but rather the "uh oh" kind.
Mike Docter swears he wasn't conflicted Saturday afternoon at Heritage Center, where his alma mater and former club, Duluth East, was hosting the team his son stars for, Minnetonka, in a highly anticipated high school boys hockey game. Ditto for last March, Docter said, when the Skippers skated past the Greyhounds in the Class AA final at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Sure was hard to tell by Docter's appearance Saturday. Surrounded by a handful of ex-teammates on the 1977-78 East squad, he sported a throwback Greyhounds jersey plus a Minnetonka hockey hat.
The rematch turned out to be a dud. Top-ranked, undefeated and defending champion Minnetonka arrived at Heritage Center on Saturday afternoon prepared for revenge-seeking Duluth East, which fell to the Skippers in the 2018 Class AA state championship game, and delivered another decisive performance. Minnetonka left town with a 5-2 victory, the same score as the teams' meeting last March in St. Paul, though this one wasn't nearly as competitive.
PREP BOYS HOCKEY / HILLTOPPER HOLIDAY CLASSIC / ROSEMOUNT 3, HERMANTOWN 2 At least one Irish team had an enjoyable Saturday. While Notre Dame was busy getting waxed in a College Football Playoff semifinal vs. Clemson, Rosemount celebrated a Hilltopper Holiday Classic title at Mars Lakeview Arena, where the non-fighting Irish dethroned four-time defending champ Hermantown 3-2 in a rhythm-less slog.
Earlier this week, Hermantown graciously lent its outdoor rink to the Brainerd boys hockey team, in town for the Hilltopper Holiday Classic. And the way the Warriors played Thursday afternoon in a methodical 5-1 win over Section 8AA rival Bemidji, Hermantown might have been second-guessing its hospitality with the two clubs set to hook up Friday. Alas, two quick goals from Justin Thomas sparked another lopsided tournament win for the Hawks, who rolled 6-2 at Mars Lakeview Arena and will oppose either Rosemount or Buffalo in today's title game at 3:30 p.m.
Like most high school hockey teams, Hermantown had questions to answer entering the 2018-19 season. Key veterans, having graduated, were replaced by fresh-faced sophomores. And then there was the matter of how the Hawks would respond after failing to reach the Class A state title game for the first time since 2009. Had a chink developed in the armor? Unheralded Alexandria offered a stunning rebuke of Hermantown's perceived invincibility in the state semifinals last March, winning 6-1 at Xcel Energy Center.