ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Dixon Bowen thought nothing could match the feeling of winning a state championship as a junior for East Grand Forks. But on Saturday the now-senior said the Green Wave’s second consecutive title somehow felt even better.
Bowen assisted on Tanner Tweten’s overtime goal as East Grand Forks survived a miraculous rally by Hermantown to repeat with a 5-4 win in the Class A championship game.
“I didn’t think it could get any better than last year, and it just did,” said Bowen, who had a goal and two assists in the title game. The Green Wave beat Hermantown 7-3 for the title in 2014.
Trailing 4-2 late in regulation, the Hawks had gotten a pair of goals in the final 32.8 seconds to force the extra session, only to finish as runners-up for the sixth consecutive year.
“I’m really proud of how we came back,” Hawks coach Bruce Plante said. “We never gave up, we never gave in.we battled hard right to the end.”
Austin Monda scored twice in regulation for East Grand Forks, which got 27 saves from Josh Weber and never trailed in the game, finishing the season 26-4-0.
Wyatt Aamodt and Eric Gotz scored late for the Hawks to force overtime, both on shots from just inside the blue line. But Tweten overcame mental and emotional fatigue to score his second goal of the game on a wrist shot from between the faceoff circles to win the title.
“We were definitely tired,” said Tweten, who had gotten the Green Wave’s initial goal in the first period as they built a 2-0 lead. “That third period, the end there, really got to us. But we knew what we needed to do. I knew we had it in us.”
Green Wave coach Tyler Palmiscno admitted having to encourage his team a bit in the brief break between regulation and the overtime.
“Give Hermantown credit, they made a couple plays at the end, but we made one more play than they did,” Palmiscno said.
Hermantown also got goals from Parker Hawk and Nate Pionk, and 20 saves from Luke Olson, but could not take the lead at any point. Plante joked that there was no heartbreak for him, despite being so close to a title for so many years in a row.
“No, I’m getting used to it,” he said. “I just don’t get it. It’s weird to me. The hockey gods didn’t work in our favor again. We had all kinds of chances to win this game. They’re no better than we are. We play well, we just make a couple mistakes and it’s in our net.”
Hermantown, which had not lost since Dec. 6, finished the season 27-3-1.
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