Scouting the Crusaders: St. Cloud Cathedral played six of the other seven Class 1A qualifiers during the regular season. The only entrant the Crusaders didn’t play was Luverne, the program Cathedral coach Derrick Brown spent six years leading before heading to St. Cloud two years ago. “Hermantown was by far the the best team we saw all year, they really took it to us,” Brown said. “After that I think there is a lot of parity.” Senior forward Jake Van Halbeck, a dynamic skater with blazing speed, leads the Crusaders with 29 goals and 68 points. Bruising center Michael Spethmann (27 goals, 40 assists) joins Van Halbeck on the top line to form a potent one-two scoring punch. Top defenseman Jeron Hirschfeld, a junior, has eight goals and 14 assists.
Scouting the Green Wave: East Grand Forks opened the section playoffs by not only holding Bagley/Fosston scoreless, but also, incredibly, holding the Flyers without a shot on goal. “I have never seen that in all my days,” said Green Wave coach Scott Koberinski, a Saskatchewan native who played collegiately at North Dakota. Junior defenseman Casey Kallock (4 goals, 20 assists) has eye-popping skating skills and an off-the-charts compete level. Senior Nick Lund is the team’s top goal scorer with 24. Sophomore goaltender Tucker Brown (2.28 goals-against average, .888 save percentage) has allowed two goals in three playoff games.
Worth knowing: East Grand Forks won back-to-back state titles in 2014 and ’15, defeating Hermantown in the championship game both times.