ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — East Grand Forks didn’t let a slow start get in the way of a school first.
Grant Loven had a goal and three assists as the Green Wave beat Hermantown 7-3 in the Class 1A Boys Hockey Championship on Saturday.
It’s the first hockey title for East Grand Forks, which scored five times in the second period.
“This is something you dream about when you’re 5 years old and step onto the ice for the first time,” said Reed Corbin, who had a goal and two assists.
It was another year of heartbreak for Hermantown. The Hawks have lost five straight title games.
“If it didn’t hurt so much, I’d laugh,” said coach Bruce Plante.
Things looked good early when Scott Wasbotten gave the Hawks (24-5-2) a 1-0 lead with 32.7 seconds left in the first period when his rebound from below the goal line deflected off goaltender Josh Weber and into the net.
Hermantown could have had more, but was 0 for 4 on the power play in the opening 17 minutes — including three opportunities in a 6-minute, 16-second span. It finished 1 for 7 with the man advantage.
“I thought we won this game in the first period,” said East Grand Forks coach Tyler Palmiscno. “To kill off those penalties and to come out only down 1-0 and give up a goal that was kind of fluky, I thought that was a win for us. We took that in stride and in the second period you saw what you saw.”
The Green Wave (28-2-1) scored three goals in a 4:17 span to take control in the second period.
Dixon Bowen took a pass from Tanner Tweten at the blue line and quickly split a pair of defenders before going left to deke goaltender Adam Smith and slide a backhand into the net at 2:36. Eddie Eades scored on a low wristshot from the slot 1:07 later.
“We needed to come out a lot stronger in the second period, but they came out a lot harder. We should have been ready for it,” Wasbotten said.
Jace Pesch made it 3-1 about three minutes later on the power play. Corbid intercepted a pass behind the net and quickly passed it to Tweten, who skated out from behind the end line and passed to Pesch at the edge of the crease in front. Smith got a piece of the shot, but the puck trickled across the line just before a defenseman could reach in to stop it.
“We kept getting the bounces and everything was going our way,” said defenseman Tye Ausmus. “We just capitalized on our opportunities.”
Loven and Corbid scored about two minutes apart late in the frame for a 5-1 lead.
“We felt all year that when we played our best it was going to be tough for anybody to beat us,” Palmiscno said. “Through two (tournament) games, the feeling in our locker room was that we have yet to play our best. I thought today we came out with our best for the majority of that hockey game.”
Parker Hawk scored 2:31 into the third period to cut the Hermantown deficit to three, but Cale Mack and Tweten iced the game with goals midway through the frame. Jared Zeleznikar scored his first of the year on a power play with 4:08 to play.
“They were nasty physical; they were fast. They were great and they stuck it to us,” Plante said.
New Prague beat St. Cloud Cathedral 5-2 for third place; Totino-Grace beat Luverne 4-3 in double-overtime in the consolation game.
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