ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A dominant performance by Grand Rapids top trio ended a 37-year drought.
Gavin Hain had a hat trick to lead the Thunderhawks past Moorhead 6-3 Saturday night to win the Class 2A boys’ hockey title.
Blake McLaughlin scored twice and Micah Miller once for the fifth-seeded Thunderhawks (23-7-1), who won the school’s first title since 1980 and fourth overall.
The line of juniors Hain and McLaughlin and Miller, a senior, finished with nine points and 15 shots. The three — all who’ve committed to play Division I hockey — had six points and 22 shots in a 6-4 quarterfinal win over fourth-seeded Maple Grove, but just a Miller assist and 11 shots in the Thunderhawks 3-2 semifinal win over top-seeded Eden Prairie.
“We all have the same goal and we work really hard together. We got some good chemistry and built off that,” Miller said. They finished the season with 77 goals and 110 assists.
They also made their coach’s job easier.
“On the ice they do things that I can’t teach them,” said coach Trent Klatt. “They have it inside them. They’re creative and passionate and all that so they get all the credit.”
The last time the final featured two teams from outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area was 2007 when Roseau beat Grand Rapids 5-1.
Seeded third, Moorhead (24-4-3) got goals from Carter Randklev, Jack Stetz and Jacob Holtgrewe, but had its 20-game unbeaten streak snapped and is winless in eight title game appearances.
“We didn’t have an answer for their top line,” said coach Jon Ammerman, choking back tears. “Our kids did their best. We made plenty of plays, just not enough to win.”
The Spuds blanked Grand Rapids 4-0 Feb. 11, part of a three-game slide for the Thunderhawks.
“We took that difficult week or two and learned from it,” Klatt said. “The guys looked themselves in the mirror and figured out exactly what each and every one of them had to do to change to get to where we are today. I’m thankful we went through that difficult time. That propelled us to get to where we are right now.”
Hain and McLaughlin scored first-period goals, and Hain added two more in the second for a 4-0 lead.
“My teammates were doing the work and pucks just laid there for me. I was lucky enough to bear down and bury them,” Hain said.
Randklev and Stetz scored 59 seconds apart late in the second to get Moorhead within two, but Miller’s goal midway through the third gave Grand Rapids a 5-2 lead.
“Tonight and last night was our best hockey we’ve played all year,” Klatt said.
Eden Prairie beat Lakeville South 3-2 in overtime for third place; St. Thomas Academy beat Wayzata 5-0 in the consolation final.
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