Hermantown boys hockey coach Patrick Andrews on his Class 1A/No. 2-ranked club – "We had a great week, with plenty of success and plenty of learning opportunities, playing a talented young Hibbing team (an 8-1 Hawks win) and a tough blue-collar White Bear Lake squad (a 3-2 loss). Coming off an emotional loss to Warroad (4-1) last Saturday, I liked the team's response. We had a great practice on Monday and our game on Tuesday against Hibbing might be our most complete effort to date. We dominated Hibbing as River Freeman scored a hat trick and Henry Peterson tallied two goals. The power play was working, we got pucks to the net, and we played hard in the house offensively and defensively. As a coach, Tuesday's game was the response you want your team to have coming off a big loss.
Saturday was the tale of two halves. We gave away the first half of the game, falling behind 3-1. Bode Madill tallied a goal in the first after a relentless forecheck by his linemates Charlie Marchand and Henry Martinsen. These three make up the 'orange line' which has come on the past five games giving us some scoring depth which is very exciting to see. With this young and inexperienced group we are still learning just how hard it is to play consistent, winning hockey. We came out with energy but we weren't willing to get to the dirty areas of the rink to make the hard plays needed to compete against a big AA team like WBL. However, after they scored their third goal it snapped us back to life and we dominated the second half of the game. Our forecheck started to grind, F2 was hard in support and we turned them over consistently, River Freeman was finally able to break through as his line with Josh Kauppinen and Ford Skytta sparked a hard push for us making the game 3-2. We outshot WBL 12-1 in the 3rd period but it was not enough as their goalie stood on his head down the stretch. It is a great lesson for our guys, we can not play half a game and expect to win against quality opponents. This week is a busy one with three games. A big LSC match-up with a much improved and competitive Superior squad. We will then be tested to the max with two AA juggernauts coming into the Hawkdome this weekend, STA on Friday night and Maple Grove on Saturday. Both these two teams create match-up problems all over the ice as they are deep, skilled, and physical. This week will be a great test for our team and is the last three games of a six-game home stretch."