Overtime was approaching and East Grand Forks, having just given up two goals in the final 33 seconds of regulation, was in serious danger of flatlining.
A spark was needed. The next goal wouldn't hurt, either.
The Green Wave's irrepressible top line of Tanner Tweten, Dixon Bowen and Grant Loven delivered both. Tweten's overtime goal, with an assist from Bowen, powered East Grand Forks to a 5-4 victory over Hermantown on Saturday in the state Class 1A boys' hockey championship game at Xcel Energy Center.
Undeterred by Hermantown's stunning rally and oblivious to the "We Believe in Miracles" sign waving madly in the Hawks' student section, an admittedly tiring Tweten drilled a hard shot from the high slot just inside the right post 3:34 into the extra session.
The victory gave the No. 3-seeded Green Wave (25-4-0) their second state championship game victory over No. 1-seeded Hermantown (26-3-1) in as many years. The title game loss was the Hawks' sixth in a row.
"I always knew I had it in me," said Tweten, a 6-foot-3 junior who also scored in the first period. "Our line has been playing really well, and I knew we were going to do it."
The Green Wave's top line was involved in all but one of their goals. While Tweten was the hero and Loven the playmaker with two assists, it was Bowen, as always, dominating the game in any number of ways. A Mr. Hockey candidate who has committed to North Dakota, Bowen parlayed his speed, physical play and in-your-face verbal jabs into a goal, three assists and the first back-to-back championship by a public school since Bloomington Jefferson's run of three consecutive titles in 1992-94. The Green Wave are the first public school to win consecutive titles in Class 1A.
"I didn't think it could get any better than last year," said Bowen, whose 65 points are a Green Wave single-season record. "And it just did."
East Grand Forks appeared destined for a mostly uneventful third period and 4-2 victory when Hermantown, which has lost several of its previous title games in excruciating fashion, rallied on point shots from defensemen Wyatt Aamodt and Eric Gotz in the closing seconds. Aamodt's goal came with 33 seconds left in regulation and Aamodt's with 16.9.
"We were definitely tired," Tweten said. "That third period at the end, it really got to us. But we knew what we had to do."
East Grand Forks coach Tyler Palmiscno's wasn't surprised to see his team rise to the occasion.
"They know how to win big games," he said. "They have the ability to raise their level of play, and it's rare."