A key line change by East Grand Forks coach Tyler Palmiscno produced the goal that carried his team into the championship game.
Tanner Tweten's third-period goal held up as the game-winner Friday in a 2-1 victory against fourth-seeded St. Cloud Cathedral in the Class 1A boys' hockey semifinals at Xcel Energy Center. The top-seeded and No. 1-ranked Green Wave (27-2-1) advanced to its first title game since 1999, when it was runner-up.
Up until the shift where Tweten scored, Palmiscno matched his second line against the top St. Cloud Cathedral line. Something told him to mix it up.
"I just felt like we needed a breath of fresh air against that line," Palmiscno said.
All three members of the first line — Dixon Bowen, Grant Loven and Tweten — factored into the goal. Loven's pass across the slot to an eager Tweten created the go-ahead score.
"Tanner has raised his level the last two games for sure," Palmiscno said. Tweten scored twice in a 5-1 quarterfinal victory against Orono. "That was a big goal."
Trailing 1-0 on Colton Poolman's goal just 2:36 into the game, St. Cloud Cathedral (21-8-1) tied it in the second period on a goal from Erik Gadbois. He slipped past Tweten and put away a pass from Matson Courrier.
Palmiscno stopped short of saying Tweten owed the team one.
"At that point in the game when they scored, it wasn't one guy," Palmiscno said. "I thought we were helter-skelter all together."
Meanwhile, the Crusaders were psyched to be tied 1-1 after two periods.
"There was a lot of energy in the locker room," Gadbois said.
But after Tweten's goal, the Green Wave turned it over to its closers on the blue line. The defensive quartet of Tye Ausmus, Colton Poolman, Taylor Brierley and Eddie Eades made the one-goal lead stand.
"This is what we've worked for growing up, to have a chance at something special," Eades said.