Hermantown junior Zach Kramer picked up a loose puck from teammate Bo Gronseth and completed the breakaway with a goal to give his team a 4-3 double-overtime victory against Breck in Friday’s Class 1A semifinal at Xcel Energy Center.
“Both defenders fell down and I picked the puck up,” Kramer said. “That’s probably the fastest I’ve ever moved my skates. It was pretty important to be faster than the breakaway and get over there.”
Hawks coach Bruce Plante proclaimed it the most important move of his hockey career. Kramer agreed nothing else has compared.
Hermantown was fresh off a missed penalty shot, the first of this year’s state tournament. Lane LeGarde missed wide left. but the Hawks quickly shook it off. “Anything positive is a good thing in overtime,” Plante said. “So I don’t think that hurt us.”
Regulation’s final minute provided each team game-winning chances. Hermantown’s Jake Zeleznikar and Chris Benson had clear shots. On the other end of the ice, Breck’s Mark Sharp got one off, but both goaltenders held strong to force extra time.
Body-sacrificing defense helped keep things close. The Hawks’ Joe Muehlbauer and Neal Pionk laid out in front of several of Breck’s shots. The Mustangs’ Derek Wiitala, on his knees in front of the goal, took a puck off his chest to prevent a score.
Hermantown’s defense maintained the edge once Travis Koepke’s second goal tied the game with 11:07 remaining in the third period. Breck led twice in the third period, but couldn’t hold the lead.
“I thought [the saved penalty shot] was going to give us a boost,” Breck’s Matt Colford said. “We worked really hard the whole game and just didn’t get the last bounce.”
Hermantown, three-time runner-ups in the state finals, will get another shot Saturday against St. Thomas Academy. The Cadets have inflicted the Hawks’ last two title game defeats.
|NY Mets - LP: J. Hefner||2||FINAL|
|Chicago Cubs - WP: S. Feldman||8|
|Seattle - LP: O. Perez||4||FINAL|
|Cleveland - WP: C. Perez||5|
|Toronto - LP: B. Morrow||2||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - WP: D. Phelps||7|
|Cincinnati - WP: B. Arroyo||10||FINAL|
|Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick||0|
|Chicago WSox - LP: N. Jones||9||FINAL|
|LA Angels - WP: R. Coello||12|
|Tampa Bay - WP: A. Torres||10||FINAL|
|Baltimore - LP: J. Johnson||6|
|Houston||1||Bottom 7th Inning|
|Los Angeles||1||Bottom 8th Inning|
|Boston||7||Bottom 5th Inning|
|Arizona||1||Bottom 8th Inning|
|Milwaukee||4||Bottom 6th Inning|
|Detroit||2||Bottom 3rd Inning|
|San Francisco||1||Bottom 4th Inning|
|Washington||0||Top 4th Inning|
|Kansas City||1||Bottom 1st Inning|
|New York||47||3rd Qtr|
|Los Angeles||0||1st Prd 14:23|
|Chicago||0||2nd Half 5:00|
|New England||0||1st Half 3:00|
|FC Dallas||9:30 PM|