Over the years, Moorhead has developed a reputation as a gritty, grinding, hardworking team that doesn't bring a lot of flash and flair. The Spuds might pound you into submission, but they probably weren't going to outfinesse you.
For the second time in as many days, third-seeded Moorhead ditched the old lunch-pail image for something much more polished. It put on a high-end skills and shooting clinic in a 3-2 triumph over unseeded Lakeville South in a Class 2A semifinal at Xcel Energy Center.
Carter Randklev and Kyler Kleven each scored on highlight-reel plays, adding to the collection of gorgeous goals scored by the Spuds in a 4-2 quarterfinal victory over Hill-Murray on Thursday.
Moorhead (24-3-3) will appear in its eighth state championship game Saturday. The Spuds have never won a title.
"We just want to try to, hopefully, be the first to do it," Randklev said. "That would just bring a lot of honor to us. That is what we have been working for all year."
Randklev's second-period power-play goal was an example of the extreme patience and precision shooting that has helped push the Spuds to the brink of school history.
"He comes down the [goal] line, and most guys would panic, but he holds onto it, and he makes the goaltender go down and he makes the play," Moorhead coach Jon Ammerman said. "Those types of plays are not common."
The same could be said for Kleven's third-period goal that put Moorhead up 3-1. He drilled a shot high under the crossbar before Lakeville South goaltender Isaiah DiLaura had a chance to move.
"What kind of a high school player can make that play?" Ammerman said.
A late goal by Josh Ess pulled the Cougars (19-10-1) to within 3-2.
"I think they just didn't quit," Lakeville South coach A.J. Bucchiono said about the Spuds. "They wanted it."