Minneapolis back in State Hockey Tourney for first time since 1994

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Sophomore John Bebler’s two goals and 30 saves by senior goalie Alex Lamont gave Minneapolis a 3-1 win over Delano in the Section 2A Championship game. The victory ends Minneapolis Public Schools’ 28-year absence from the Boys State Hockey Tournament.

Click the video box on this page to watch extended highlights of Minneapolis vs Delano in the Section 2A Boys Hockey Championship, plus postgame interviews and Minneapolis’ on-ice and locker room celebrations

Minneapolis is the first public school from the city to advance to State since Minneapolis Edison in 1994. They are the first with players hailing from Minneapolis communities south of the river to qualify for a non Tier-II tournament since Minneapolis Southwest in 1980.

The majority of this year’s roster attend Minneapolis’ Washburn or Southwest High Schools.

Bebler’s goals – one in the first period, another in the second – staked Minneapolis to a 2-0 lead in front of an electric crowd at the St. Louis Park Recreation Center.

Thanks in part to Lamont’s spectacular work between the pipes, Delano (20-8) failed to convert the game’s lone power play that bridged the second and third periods, and still trailed by two midway through the final period.

With 8:34 remaining, Jesse Peterson got Delano on the board cutting Minneapolis’ lead to 2-1.

But 1:13 later, Minneapolis senior captain Zander Zoia pushed the lead back to 3-1, where it remained as the final seconds ran off the clock.

As the horn blew, Minneapolis players spilled over the boards celebrating a State trip few believed possible just a few years ago.

They head to St. Paul with a 21-6-1 record, and ranked 5th in the State of Hockey Class A Rankings.

The State bid comes in head coach Joe Dzeidzic’s tenth year with the team.

Dzeidzic – a Minneapolis Edison grad, Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey in 1990, and the most recent Minneapolis public schooler to play for the Minnesota Gophers – battled low turnouts and brutally-tough section opposition for several years, but seems to have a program that’s turned a major corner.

The Minneapolis team is open to players from the city’s seven public high schools.

They will learn their first State Tourney opponent in a generation when brackets are seeded and drawn by the MSHSL on Saturday morning.