From Wednesday's first Class 1A face-off until after the Class 2A title is decided Saturday night, Star Tribune high school hockey writer David La Vaque, Heather Rule and others will provide bonus coverage of the state boys' hockey tournament.
Come back throughout the day for updates.
Saturday, 2:06 p.m. — Andover coach Mark Manney, unplugged
Hermantown coach Bruce Plante ruled what we'll call the press conference era of the Minnesota boys' high school hockey state tournament. One-liners, self-deprecating humor and even a few cuss words. Every postgame session felt like open mic night.
Plante was a money quote and remains sorely missed by the media contingent.
This week, Andover's Mark Manney has emerged as a frontrunner for Plante's throne. Manney adds life to the impersonal postgame setting with his wit and wisdom — and honesty. Here are some of the nuggets after Friday's semifinal upset of No. 1 seed Hill-Murray.
"Um, well, I didn't see this coming. The gold standard in Minnesota high school hockey, in my mind, has always been Hill-Murray. Because they are so disciplined and so well coached and so skilled. They never get rattled. They don't take bad penalties. They do everything right. In watching video of them … we were saying, 'That's a better version of us.' Nothing against my kids, we earned a win tonight, but we strive to get to where they are with their discipline on the ice and the way they can just squeeze the will out of you. So, to beat a program like that is a big feather in all these guys' caps."
On managing the roster:
"We have lines for the first four minutes. After that, it's kind of who is going best. With inexperience, that's what we're forced to do. We're making it up over there."
On the strength of the Northwest Suburban Conference:
"One thing about the game [Saturday], not to brag on our conference, but I think over the last several years, we've kind of gotten a bad rap because some programs that have been very high have fallen off just a little. Elk River has gone through a few lower times. Blaine hasn't been a state contender every year. Maple Grove has really kind of taken over the northwest corner — along with us. We'll have two conference teams playing for a state championship [Saturday] and neither one won the conference. Rogers did. They made a section final. Elk River made a section final. This year, the Northwest Suburban was back. The conference schedule was tough enough this year to give us plenty of games to get ready."
On the enigma that is star junior forward Gavyn Thoreson:
"Well, who says he doesn't go over [the edge]? He's a tough kid to coach, I'll be honest. He's so ultra-talented and he needs to play that way to maximize his ability. But occasionally he does things that make me wonder whether he's his own worst enemy. He knows that; I'm not speaking out of turn. We'll openly say he's the most skilled player we've ever had in our program. But he needs to find the line and cross it a little bit less often because he infuriates the other team, but he sometimes infuriates me more. He knows and he's worked on it very hard. The last month of the season, he's been really good. So, he's fixed it, or he's done his best to fix it."
On Andover's special teams:
"Our penalty kill — our percentage is awful. We've been open all year about saying our special teams are horrible. We have everybody back from last year except one guy, so it's a little bit of a mystery. But we haven't allowed a power-play goal in the last eight games, maybe more. When you can't kill penalties, you have to take less penalties."
Turning to senior goalie Austin Brauns, Manney told the media, "Braunsie joked [Thursday] night that he didn't have to say anything the whole time down here and he's snickering again because he thinks he's going to get out of here free. So if you don't ask him something, I'm going to."
On Thoreson's ability to go from looking gassed to becoming a clutch goal scorer:
"There are a lot of players who look like they're dead tired, and when they get the puck, all of a sudden they have a lot of energy. We'd like him to have more energy going toward our net. Special players do those things at special times, and certainly, he's that guy. I don't want to jinx it, but if he does it again [Saturday] I'll come in and say he's my favorite player of all time. But he's got to get one more in there."
On senior defenseman and captain Weston Knox:
"Weston spends a lot of his time … he's kind of like FEMA on our team, he cleans up after Hurricane Manney comes through the locker room."
Good night, ladies and gentlemen.
Saturday, 11:30 p.m. — From NHL standout Oshie: Go Warroad
Warroad graduate and current Washington Capitals player T.J. Oshie tweeted a good-luck message to the Warroad boys' hockey team ahead of this afternoon's championship game.
Oshie was a standout center for the Warriors the last time they won a state title in 2005. He had the primary assist on Aaron Marvin's championship-winning goal in double overtime for a 4-3 victory over Totino-Grace. Oshie also won a championship with Warroad as a sophomore in 2003, a 3-1 victory over Simley.
Saturday, the Warriors look to win the fifth state title in program history in their 23rd state appearance. They won in 1994, 1996, 2003, 2005.
Friday, 11:50 p.m. — One more time to shine for Prior Lake
Despite taking a 6-2 loss to Maple Grove in the Class 2A semifinals Friday night, Prior Lake still had a memorable run to the final day of the hockey season Saturday. For one, senior Alex Bump put on a show with his five-goal performance in the quarterfinals.
The Lakers also have a chance to end the year on a high note, with a victory in the third-place game in its first state tournament. Though it wasn't something Prior Lake coach Joe Pankratz was going to address with his players Friday night, with the sting of the semifinal loss still fresh. It could wait until the morning.
"In their minds right now, it feels like the season's over," Pankratz said. "And I fully understand that, how they're going to feel right now."
Pankratz added that his players have so much to be proud of in their first trip to St. Paul. They've all done a lot for the high school program and Prior Lake community, he added. And the season still has one more game on the schedule, and he said his team will bounce back and be ready.
"Hopefully these guys will understand, winning that game tomorrow, getting a third-place trophy, it's no small feat in Minnesota double-A hockey," Pankratz said. "It's a pretty cool thing to be able to have that opportunity."
The significance of the tournament trip on the team and on the Prior Lake community took "a little bit to settle in," even after that quarterfinal victory over Cretin-Derham Hall, said senior defenseman Justin Simonson.
"But once we were back at the hotel with everyone together, then we finally realized, wow, that it's a big win, we're moving on to the next game," Simonson said. "Hopefully go out with a bang tomorrow and with a W."
Friday 3:20 p.m. — Mahtomedi hits that semifinal barrier again
Mahtomedi has had some heartbreaking state semifinal games over the course of its 13 trips to the boys' hockey state tournament.
Another one came Friday in the form of a 5-4 overtime loss to Warroad in the Class 1A semifinals. The two teams met in the semis in 2020, when Mahtomedi won 5-1 on the way to winning its first state championship.
But that's still the only victory for the Zephyrs in the semifinals.
The Zephyrs fell to 1-6 as a program in that category, with five of those losses coming in overtime. The streak is bookended by losses to Warroad, starting with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Warriors in 1994. Mahtomedi also lost 7-6 in overtime to Hermantown in 2010, 5-2 to East Grand Forks in 2015, 5-4 in overtime to Orono in 2018, 3-2 in overtime to Greenway in 2019 and now 5-4 in overtime to Warroad.
Friday 7 a.m. — The end of hockey at St. Paul Johnson?
St. Paul, home to the boys' hockey state tournament since 1945, might be losing a public school program with an even longer history.
A meeting seeking community input toward creating a plan for the future of hockey in St. Paul is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at Highland Park High School, Scots activities director Pat Auran said Thursday.
While player numbers at Highland Park are solid, longtime Johnson coach Steve "Moose" Younghans said his program has reached a critical point. The Governors lose eight seniors from their 18-man roster. Younghans said only "seven or eight" players are currently expected to come in next season.
Options for the future include a co-operative between Highland Park and Johnson or a consolidation akin to what's happened in Minneapolis, where there is one team for its seven public schools. This week Minneapolis made the first state tournament appearance by a team representing the city public schools in 28 years since Edison advanced.
While sensitive to Johnson's plight, Auran said blending programs comes with challenges.
"Our youth association numbers are good, not so much with Johnson's numbers," Auran said. "If we absorb them and we have to make cuts of our players, that's political suicide."
Then there are logistical concerns. Johnson plays at Gustafson Phalen Arena behind the school. Auran said the Scots are "second fiddle to Cretin-Derham Hall" at the neighborhood Charles M. Schulz-Highland Arena in terms of preferred ice time.
Highland Park revived its program, dormant since 1987, in 2008. Players come from there and nearby Central. Johnson draws players from the Como area.
Johnson boasts a proud tradition. The East Side school began play in 1913 and is the only St. Paul public school to win a state title (1947, 1953, 1955, 1963). Younghans led the Governors to St. Paul's most recent state tournament appearance (1995).
On the girls' side, St. Paul co-ops with Two Rivers.
In the late 1960s, St. Paul public schools had eight teams.
Thursday 2 p.m. — Things that go Bump on the ice
Prior Lake senior Alex Bump scored five of his team's six goals Thursday in its first-ever state quarterfinal as a program.
Five goals in a state tournament game put him in good company. Grant Besse scored the first three goals of the game and ended with five of his own for Benilde-St. Margaret's in the 2012 Class 2A championship game the Red Knights won 5-1 over Hill-Murray. There was talk of that performance after Thursday's game.
A Minnesota hockey legend was on hand to witness Bump's performance: John Mayasich. The Eveleth standout player holds the state tournament record for most goals in a game with seven in 1951 against Minneapolis Southwest. He also has the record for most goals in a period with four, a mark Bump had a shot at with his first-period hat trick.
Mayasich holds the record for most goals scored by an individual in a state tournament, 15 in 1951.
Mayasich congratulated Bump outside the locker room afterward.
"I told him I was lucky to see the game and his performance," Mayasich said. "What a show. What a talent.
"I kidded him that he was going to bump my records."
Closing in on records is nothing new for Bump this season. He broke the single-season goal record for Prior Lake. After Thursday, his total is 46 goals. The previous record was 31, "so he blew it out of the water," Prior Lake coach Joe Pankratz said.
Bump now has 81 points, so he also broke the single-season points record for Prior Lake earlier this season. He shattered that one, tool it was 53 points.
"And that's actually one of my assistant coaches, who I coached, had the previous record," Pankratz said. "So that's been a fun one all year to watch him track that down and beat it."
Matt Crist is that assistant coach. He played for Prior Lake for three seasons from 2009-12. He scored 24 goals and 53 points his senior year.
One more record for good measure? Bump's first goal in the quarterfinal broke a tie with Prior Lake alum Jackson Jutting — who also wore No. 19 for the Lakers — for the most career points with Prior Lake. Jutting scored 140 points in four seasons (2015-19), while Bump now has 146 points, and counting, in three seasons. Bump scored 32 points as a junior and 33 as a sophomore.
"I equate his game to like a shark," said Cretin-Derham Hall coach Matt Funk, after Bump and the Lakers dispatched the Raiders 6-0 Thursday. "He just, he sits out there and waits for his moment. And when that moment comes, he's going to pounce and make you pay."
Chris Long of Ch. 45 captured the scene when record-setter met record-setter:
Thursday 1:30 p.m. — Minneapolis moved to consolation title game
The Minneapolis co-op team recovered nicely from its defeat in the Class 1A quarterfinals by Alexandria, breaking open a third-period tie with three goals to defeat New Prague 5-2. Jack Hanson scored both of the Minneapolis goals in the first period and Caden Lacher tallied all three in the third — the tie-breaker with 11:46 to play and an empty-net goal with 16 seconds remaining.
Minneapolis, the first city public school in the tournament since Edison made it in 1994, will play Monticello, a 3-1 winner over Mankato East, at 9 a.m. Saturday at Mariucci Arena.
If you need a brief lesson on the history of Minneapolis teams going to state, here's a history tweet:
Thursday 9:45 a.m. — Pregame, Class 2A quarterfinals
Andover and Moorhead faced off Dec. 3, the Spuds winning 6-1 in Moorhead.
A final score doesn't tell a whole story.
"That one was misleading," Moorhead coach Jon Ammerman said. "We got some goals, and the wheels came off for them."
Andover coach Mark Manney agreed that the game was pretty even — shots on goal were 38-37 in favor of Moorhead — with the Spuds taking advantage of power plays, scoring three power-play goals on four chances while Andover went 0-for-6. Moorhead took a 2-0 lead in the first period with a Gavin Lindberg shorthanded goal and a power-play tally from Harper Bentz. Andover's Cayden Casey scored with three seconds left in the period.
"There were some extraneous things that made that game look a little more one-sided than it was," Manney said. "It was a very competitive game."
Among extraneous factors were the game venue and time. The plan was to play at Moorhead's youth rink, with Concordia playing that Friday night at the Moorhead Sports Center. But a compressor went out on the youth-rink ice, switching the Andover-Moorhead game back to the sports center at the last minute for a 4 p.m. start.
Andover's players went from their bus to warmups on the ice about 20 or 30 minutes later. The Huskies weren't mentally there yet, Manney said. Also, Andover was 2-0, Moorhead 0-2; the Spuds had a lot of motivation, Manney said.
No. 5 seed Andover and No. 4 seed Moorhead will meet again in the last Class 2A quarterfinal of the day Thursday.
"I think that game gives a little bit of a psychological advantage to us," Manney said. "And we were a little embarrassed by the score."
Thursday 8 a.m. — Listen to Louie
Lou Nanne has transitioned from NHL player and executive to an influential voice in Minnesota hockey, which he lends to the Ch. 45 broadcast of the Class 2A tournament.
Want some bonus Lou? He was a guest on the latest Talking Preps podcast with David La Vaque. Listen here:
Wednesday 9:49 p.m. — Postgame, third Class 1A quarterfinal
Hermantown players and coach Patrick Andrews had the class of 2021 on their minds after their 5-1 quarterfinal victory over New Prague. A COVID-19 exposure kept seven seniors out of the state quarterfinal in 2021. Junior Zam Plante, who played in last year's state tournament as a sophomore, said he thinks about those seniors from last year "because they never got the chance." Many of them texted Plante saying, "'Go get it done for us, guys,'" Plante said.
Andrews said he received many texts from those players, too.
"It is what it is, what happened last year," Andrews said. "There were a lot of things that didn't happen in life that were probably more important than a hockey game. Those guys sacrificed a lot last year to come back and try and win a championship. And we were really good. It was heartbreaking for those guys.
"A little bit of hunger there because of what happened last year. These guys are definitely on a mission."
Wednesday 7:45 p.m. — Third period, third Class 1A quarterfinal
The history of the Minnesota boys' hockey state tournament is rich with enduring moments. In honor of this 2022 event, let's go back one decade at time and relive some great memories. In fact, we'll go back to before the beginning …
Who could forget the Jack Jablonski story? The Benilde-St. Margaret's sophomore took an illegal check from behind into the boards on Dec. 30 and suffered a spinal cord injury. As the hockey world and beyond adopted the "Bel13ve" mantra, the Red Knights made sure to honor their teammate through their play. A state tournament championship run culminated with Grant Besse's equally unforgettable five-goal performance in a 5-1 title game victory.
The Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield became the first private school not named Hill-Murray to win a Class 2A state championship. The Stars beat Hill-Murray in the final game. Reviews were mixed. Holy Angels was not the people's champion. "I guarantee you only our small student-body section and our parents were rooting for us," defenseman Jack Hillen told Loren Nelson in the "Tourney Time" book.
Bloomington Jefferson had already established itself as a top program with state titles in 1981 and 1989. But in 1992, the Jaguars started their run as a dynasty. They won the first of three consecutive state championships. The 1992 version was unique. The tournament format moved from one class of eight teams to the Tier I and II model. Mercifully, the tier model ended after two seasons. Jefferson's place among the greatest programs endures.
Edina, which had split into East and West, became one again for the 1981-82 school year. As a result, two strong hockey programs merged into an absolute power — provided players could get along. It wasn't easy. Lingering resentments threatened to capsize an otherwise seemingly unsinkable superteam. The Hornets figured it out and became champions. This imperfect blend of talent and egos produced a 6-0 victory to capture the trophy — a performance coach Willard Ikola considered perfect.
This tournament marked the last of six championships won by International Falls coach Larry Ross. Known as "Pops," though not to his face, Ross arrived in International Falls in 1954. Three years later, the Broncos were state champions. They rose into the state's prominent program with five consecutive title game appearances from 1962-66 and four state championships during the run.
International Falls hitched its wagon to Keith "Huffer" Christiansen, all 5-5 and 145 pounds of him, and went on a memorable ride. Christiansen could stickhandle around defensemen in a phone booth. He led the Broncos to the state title as a junior and then he was gone. Christiansen repeated the ninth grade while attending school in Fort Frances, Ontario, and his junior season was the last of his eligibility.
Who could stop Eveleth, a team that won four consecutive state titles from 1948-51? Hibbing answered the call. First, the Bluejackets ended Eveleth's 79-game winning streak. A week later, Hibbing headed to Eveleth for the Region 7 final. The Bluejackets won again. Eveleth also qualified for the state tournament because the region runner-up was granted that privilege back then. The teams' final meeting came in the state title game. Hibbing won again, sweeping three games against Eveleth on three consecutive Saturday nights.
Roseau High School was given Minnesota State High School League sanctioning to host a state tournament. Which means, technically, Thief River Falls, sponsored by the local 40&8 Voiture Club and playing as the Hornets, was Minnesota's first state champion. Roseau never held another tournament. No one did, until 1945. That event is the one that endured and celebrated 75 years in 2019.
Wednesday 4:55 p.m. — Pregame, third Class 1A quarterfinal
Top-seed Hermantown dedicated its Class 1A quarterfinal game against New Prague at 6 p.m. Wednesday to the class of 2021 seniors. The seven seniors from last year's section championship team weren't able to play in the 2021 state quarterfinal against Dodge County because of a COVID-19 exposure during the team's section semifinal game.
The 2021 Hermantown seniors: Cameron Pietrusa, Aydyn Dowd, Mikey Graves, Aaron Pionk, Cole Antcliff, Ethan Lund and Joey Pierce.
Wednesday 4 p.m. — Flashback to earlier this week
When Warroad leaves for state, this is how the Warriors roll out of town.
Wednesday 2:25 p.m. — postgame, Class 1A, first quarterfinal
Warroad boys' hockey coach Jay Hardwick said pondering the numerous family ties within the Warriors program gives him goosebumps.
Two of the most prominent families from "Hockeytown USA." are the Bouchas and Marvins. Several players on the current roster boast connections.
Gaabi Boucha is the grandson of legendary player Henry Boucha. And Griffin Marvin, Murray Marvin-Cordes and Hampton Slukynsky are cousins of Gigi Marvin, an all-time great for the girls' program and the Gophers.
Cal Marvin, the Godfather of Warroad hockey, is looking down on grandson Murray and great-grandson Hampton this week.
And that's not all. Longtime assistant coach Darrell "Son" Shaugabay works behind the bench with son Dan. His other son, Jayson Shaugabay, scored a goal and added two assists in Wednesday's 7-1 victory against Monticello. Darrell's grandson, Carson Pilgrim, scored twice.
"All the connections we have — there's a ton of them," Hardwick said. "It goes on and on. We understand that we're playing for each other and the team, but it's not just us. It's the entire community, the culture we've built and the tradition we have. Warroad hockey is something very special and we want to continue to make it special and continue the legacy."