Scouting the Moose: The program’s first state tournament appearance should help divert attention from a previous claim to playoffs notoriety: A 27-0 loss to Moorhead in a 2004 section quarterfinal that is believed to be the most lopsided score in state history. Junior Ben Ward centers the top line and has 26 goals and a team-best 71 points. “He’s a special player,” said second-year coach Eric Nelson, who played for Monticello and graduated in 1997. Burly Nick Zwack, a 6-foot-3, 196-pound first-line wing with 27 goals and 30 assists, has committed to play Division I baseball at Xavier.
Scouting the Tigers: Blocked shots isn’t a sexy statistic, but repeatedly throwing bodies in front of high-speed vulcanized rubber is a big part of Delano’s identity. In the section title game against Breck, “Our statistician had us at 37 blocked shots, which is remarkable,” second-year Tigers coach Gerrit van Bergen said. The Tigers’ 2-0 victory secured the program’s first state appearance. Delano senior forward Ben Meyers, a Mr. Hockey finalist who has committed to Maine, is the state’s scoring leader with 107 points (50 goals, 57 assists). Senior forward Brian Halonen, who has committed to Michigan Tech, has 40 goals and 44 assists after leading the Upper Midwest High School Elite League in scoring last fall. Freshman forward Garrett Pinoniemi (12 goals, 9 assists) has committed to St. Cloud State.
Worth knowing: Meyers, who holds all of Delano’s major career scoring records, ranks 11th in state history with 265 career points.