Mahtomedi freshman goaltender Ben Dardis started this fall on the AA bantam team before he tried out for varsity and made it.
Now he already has a section championship shutout to his name.
"We knew he was good, but we didn't know if he would make the jump," Zephyrs coach Jeff Poeschl said. "He's just handled every test that has been placed in front of him."
Dardis made 22 saves Friday as No. 2-ranked Mahtomedi defeated No. 3 Totino-Grace 5-0 for the Class 1A, Section 4 crown in Roseville, earning a trip to state for the third year in a row.
The Zephyrs outshot the Eagles 33-22, backed by solid defense and stellar goaltending.
"Oh, he's phenomenal," Mahtomedi senior defenseman Noah Skillings said of Dardis. "Freshman year. Couldn't have done a better job. He's playing like a veteran. He's going to do great things for us."
Mahtomedi took a 2-0 lead in the first period with goals from Nikolai Dulak and Adam Johnson, who scored with 47.2 ticks remaining in the first period.
Sophomore J.D. Metz made it 3-0 only 1 minute, 43 seconds into the second period for his fourth multipoint game of the season. Kory Pilarski and Colin Hagstrom added goals in the third period.
The Zephyrs defense shut the Eagles down, and Dardis came up particularly big with two outstanding saves on a Totino-Grace power play early in the third. The young goalie credited his teammates for blocking shots and shutting down rushes all game long.
"They made it easy for me," Dardis said.
The Zephyrs (21-6-1) avenged a 5-1 home loss to the Eagles (19-8-2) on Jan. 22. According to Poeschl, that was the only bad outing for Dardis this season.
"This is a sweet game to avenge that," Poeschl said.