Boys Hockey: Biondi Hat Trick Earns Hermantown Class A Quarterfinal Win Over Monticello/ML

March 07, 2018 11:03 PM

In a rematch of the 2017 Class A Championship, two-time defending state champions and top seed Hermantown (21-6-2) prevailed 4-2 over Monticello (19-8-2) on Wednesday evening at Xcel Energy Center in the 2018 Class A Boys’ Hockey Tournament quarterfinal.

Click the video box on this page to see extended highlights of the Class A Boys Hockey State Quarterfinal between Hermantown and Monticello/Maple Lake

Sophomore wing Blake Biondi completed the hat trick to put the Moose away, tipping a shot from the point by teammate Darian Gotz, a junior defenseman to give Hermantown the 4-2 lead in the 15th minute of the third period.

The Hawks advance to the state semifinals and will play the No. 5 Thief River Falls vs No. 4 Alexandria Area winner on Friday, March 9 at 1 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center while Monticello heads to the consolation semifinal on Thursday, March 8 at noon at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis.

Biondi was a force, contributing on all four Hawk goals. He scored the game’s first goal in the third minute of the first period and assisted along with senior center Tyler Watkins on senior wing Jacob Herter’s power play goal in the seventh minute for a 2-0 lead at the first period break. 

Watkins, the team’s point leader, had a pair of assists (45) and has 70 points in 29 games on the year. With his four point game, Biondi now has 29 goals and 29 assists on the season. Meanwhile, Herter also had a two point performance, assisting with Watkins on Biondi’s first goal before scoring the team’s second.

Biondi scored again in the second minute of the second period as the top seed and two-time defending state champions appeared poised to advance early in the game. 

Monticello had other ideas, and despite a strong shot differential the Moose came storming back with back-to-back goals by sophomore forward Matt Miller.

After two periods, the Moose were within striking distance of what would have been a significant quarterfinal upset of the tournament’s top seed in search of a third straight state title despite a significant 30-15 shots on goal disparity.

The shots on goal margin was misleading, though, as Monticello was only down 45-36 on total shots attempted after two periods.

In the third period, Monticello came out aggressive with a 6-1 shots on goal advantage in the first seven minutes of the period.

But Hermantown junior goalie Cole Manahan was able to stop the momentum in the net and the Hawks were able to reverse course, flipping the ice with a 6-2 shot margin over the next six minutes when Biondi finally found the net with 2:31 remaining.

Manahan saved 24 shots in the victory including 11 in the third period in a clutch performance down the stretch to preserve the win.

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Courtesy: Minnesota State High School League

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