In an uncharacteristically down year for the Bloomington Jefferson boys' hockey program, Jaguars junior Colin Hernon provided a welcome bright spot last weekend.
Four of them, actually.
With Eagan seemingly in cruise control, up 6-2 more than halfway through the third period, Hernon scored a natural hat trick when he recorded three special-teams goals -- power play, shorthanded, power play -- in a 6-minute, 19-second span. That gave him four goals in the period. Jono Lindquist then tied it 6-6 with 18 seconds to go to complete the comeback against the Class 2A, No. 4 Wildcats.
A tie might not seem like much, but to a team that didn't register a victory until the 11th game of the season, it was huge.
"We have a good team but we don't have great depth," coach Jeff Lindquist said.
"So when you lose guys, like we did, it makes it difficult to beat some of these top teams we've been up against," he said.
In three decades of coaching, Lindquist said, this was the first time his team didn't get a victory until after the new year.
"In practice all year they've kept their effort; we haven't had to get on them about that," Lindquist said. "That's a good hockey team we came back on. We've always had confidence, it's just a matter of getting the job done."
Opperman Mr. Hockey hopeful
Breck's Grant Opperman is among the 10 finalists for the 28th annual Mr. Hockey Award. The award is given annually to the outstanding senior high school hockey player in Minnesota.
The winner is picked by a panel of NHL scouts, Division I coaches and selected media members from around the state.
The winner will be announced at a banquet on March 11, the day after the state hockey tournament.
In addition, Maple Grove's Kyle Koop joins Moorhead's Michael Bitzer as a finalist for the Frank Brimsek Award, given to the state's top senior goaltender.
Tickets to the banquet are available at minnesotaminutemen.com.