State Hockey: East Grand Forks Claims First-Ever State Hockey Championship

Updated: 03/08/2014 9:19 PM
Created: 03/08/2014 3:38 PM
By: Chris Long

East Grand Forks rode the wave of a five-goal second period outburst to claim their first-ever Minnesota State Boys Hockey Championship, sending Hermantown to a fifth consecutive title-game defeat.

Seven different goalscorers chipped in for East Grand Forks in their 7-3 win.

The Green Wave win the first title in their ninth trip to state and second appearance in a Championship game.

The #1-ranked and #1 seeded Green Wave trailed 1-0 after the first period as Hermantown's Scott Wasbotten opened the scoring with :33 left in the opening stanza.

It might have been far worse as the Wave took three penalties in the first period, putting Hermantown on a power play for nearly six-and-a-half consecutive minutes.  

But the opportunity was squandered as the Hawks only managed four shots and no goals on the lengthy man-advantage situations.

Whatever it was Green Wave coach Scott Palmiscino said in the first intermission locker room worked.

Dixon Bowen began the goal deluge by tying the game at one 2:36 into the second period.

East Grand Forks never trailed again.

Just 1:17 after Bowen's tying goal, defenseman Eddie Eades gave East Grand Forks the lead.

Wasbotten hit the post on a shot for Hermantown just moments after Eades had given  East Grand Forks had a 2-1 lead. It was the last in a series of early opportunities the eventual runners-up would love to have back.

Jace Pesch, Grant Loven and Reed Corbin followed with second period goals that turned the third period into a Green Wave victory lap.

Hermantown's Parker Hawk stopped the barrage with a goal early in the third, but teh Green Wave replied through Cale Mack and Tanner Tweten to pull ahead 7-2.

Jared Zeleznikar closed the scoring, netting one last tally for Hermantown providing the 7-3 final score.

East Grand Forks only outshot Hermantown by a slight 29-25 margin, but keeper Josh Weber made it stand up with 22 saves. Hermantown starter Adam Smith made 15 saves before yielding to Jace Thomas - who made seven saves - in the third.

The Hawks are only the third team ever to appear in five straight State Championship games.  Eveleth ('48-'52, 4 titles) and International Falls ('62-'66, 4 titles).

Hermantown is only the second team to lose as many as three consecutive State Championship games. Duluth Marshall lost three straight from 2006-08. The second of Marshall's three losses came, ironically, to Hermantown - giving the Hawks their lone State title win. 

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