East Grand Forks defenseman Eddie Eades dedicated his program’s first state hockey championship to all past players who came up a little short of the dream.
From coach Tyler Palmiscno, who skated for the Green Wave in the 1998 tournament, to his father, Tony, who brought the program to state twice, to last year’s senior group who finished fourth, East Grand Forks yearned for a glorious ending the likes of which this team authored.
The Green Wave scored five unanswered goals in the second period to fuel a 7-3 victory against Hermantown, which lost its fifth consecutive Class 1A state championship game.
“There will never be a team from East Side better than this team,” Palmiscno said. “This is a goal they set five or six years ago and got up and worked for it.”
Seven different players scored for East Grand Forks. Saturday’s victory at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul ran the Green Wave winning streak to 20 consecutive games dating back to late December.
“We felt all year that when we played our best, it was going to be tough for anybody to beat us,” Palmiscno said. “I thought today we came out with our best.”
The Green Wave crested in the second period, parlaying crushing checks and crisp passing into five unanswered goals. Dixon Bowen started the party with a goal at 2:36. Getting the puck on a one-touch pass from Tanner Tweten, Bowen barreled in from the blueline, split the defense and scored on the backhand.
“Dixon’s goal got us going,” Palmscino said. “And Eddie’s was the one that really told us we can win this game.”
East Grand Forks broke the 1-1 tie by force a little more a minute later. Reed Corbid delivered a huge hit in at the red line, sending a wayward puck toward teammate Taylor Brierley. He passed to Eades, who blasted the puck home for a 2-1 lead.
“All year coach talked about being physical,” Corbin said. “He had his head down so I just made the hit.”
Three additional goals followed from Jace Pesch, Grant Loven and Corbid as the Green Wave ended the second period with a commanding 5-1 lead.
“Everything was going our way that second period,” defenseman Tye Ausmus said. The opposite was true for Hermantown, who lost a 1-0 lead after the first period and watched a fifth consecutive title game slip away. “With a team like that, it’s a feeding frenzy,” Hawks coach Bruce Plante said. “They’re pretty darn good. They got it going and we had a hard time changing it."