Davis Tollette (25) celebrates after scoring the winning goal in overtime to send Andover to the 7AA final against Duluth East. Photos by Dave Harwig, ViewThroughMyLens.net
When Chase Perry tried to kick out in the final period of Andover’s game against St. Michael/Albertville on Tuesday, Feb. 21, he knew something was wrong immediately.
“I went to extend my right leg and something just popped,” said Perry, a sophomore goalie that put up great numbers, including a .923 save percentage, during the regular season. “I skated off and had our trainer look at it. He thought it was a MCL, but it was just cartilage under my knee.”
The scare was enough to keep Perry from finishing the game against St. Michael, and even had him wondering about his status for the 7AA semifinals. During the week, he put heat on his knee and went to see a physical therapist.
The care worked, and Perry suited up and played against Forest Lake in the Huskies’ 7AA semifinal win on Saturday. But, even though he was between the pipes, he admits that he wasn’t his best.
“I was playing through a lot of pain out there, but you have to do whatever you can to keep the puck out of the net,” Perry said.
Perry allowed six goals on 38 shots, but it was enough to backstop his Andover team to the 7AA finals with a thrilling 7-6 overtime win.
Head coach Mark Manney says he could tell that Perry wasn’t feeling right.
“I think you saw a Chase Perry that we haven’t seen all year,” Manney said. “I think he was battling a little bit out there.”
The blame for the six goals shouldn’t be placed on Perry, though. The Huskies took several penalties in the second period, allowing Forest Lake to score three quick power-play goals before the end of the frame.
“The second was going pretty good for us, but then we went to the penalty box,” Manney said. “When you stop moving your feet, you’re going to take penalties. We’re streaky that way. We have a very bad habit of taking offensive zone penalties and lazy stick fouls.”
Manney says that a lack of focus attributed to the effort, too.
“I think the guys were mentally prepared when we left home, but by the time we got here, got to see the big building and maybe watch the way the Duluth East-Elk River game went, we kind of lost our focus at the beginning of the game,” Manney said. “Once we settled down in the third and were able to stay out of the box, we were able to take them five-on-five.”
The Huskies took a late lead in the final period of regulation, only to see Forest Lake strike to force overtime.
Ironically, once the extra session came, it was another Andover player who had suffered through a knee injury that bailed Perry and his teammates out.
Senior captain Davis Tollette, who has only skated in eight games this season due to a torn ACL during football season, popped home the winning goal late in overtime to send Andover to the Section 7AA final.
“He’s got a lot of heart, coming in halfway through the season when the legs aren’t really there,” said Perry of Tollette. “He’s come out the last few games and played really good for us. I think it’s helping a lot.”
Tollette actually had to accelerate his rehab to get back for hockey season and his teammates, a very captain-like move. After he scored his third goal of the season to send his squad into a frenzy, Tollette again did what leaders do and placed the credit elsewhere.
“I just stayed up high, and it was mostly my teammates. I just stood in front of the net,” Tollette said. “It’s the biggest goal I’ve ever scored by far.”
Andover will celebrate its win tonight with a winter formal dance at school. But when Monday rolls around, it’s back to business with top-seed Duluth East waiting on Thursday.
The Huskies feel that their play must be different against the Hounds to have a chance.
“We’ll just remind them to keep the third forward high, pick up guys in front of the net, never turn your back on the puck, those kinds of things that everybody talks about this time of year,” Manney said. “The thing about Duluth East is you can’t go in afraid of them. If we can get a good, solid defensive effort, we think we’ll be able to hang with them.”
Forest Lake's Lucas Kohls (10) wheels past an Andover defender on Saturday afternoon. Photos by Dave Harwig, ViewThroughMyLens.net
Davis Tollette scored 5 minutes, 22 seconds into overtime to send second-seeded Andover to its first Section 7AA final with a 7-6 win over No. 6-seed Forest Lake on Saturday, Feb. 25, at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.
After getting a puck in the corner, Tyler Jokinen threaded a pass through a few bodies and onto the stick of Tollette, who was all-alone in the slot. Tollette fired a shot past Forest Lake goalie Brian Levorson’s blocker to cap a back-and-forth win for the Huskies.
Following a first period that saw the teams trade goals, Andover jumped out to a 4-2 lead 9 minutes, 32 seconds into the second frame on goals by Jokinen and Tyler Vold.
But the Rangers didn’t go away, and scored three straight power-play goals to take a 5-4 lead into the third period.
In the third, Calvin Rak and Tyler Tomberlin scored back-to-back goals three minutes apart to give the Huskies a 6-5 lead late in regulation.
Forest Lake regrouped and eventually tied the score with just 91 seconds to play in the third.
Andover controlled play in the extra session, and Tollette ended it after a Huskies power play was unsuccessful.
Rak finished with a pair of goals for Andover, while Christian Mohs scored the other Huskies’ marker.
Sophomore goalie Chase Perry turned away 32 shots for the win.
Lucas Kohls had four assists for the Rangers; Brett Gravelle, Jack Schmidt, Trevor Thompson, Kyle VanTassel, Kyle Parker and Brandon Rogers had the goals for Forest Lake.
Levorson, a junior, finished with 31 saves between the pipes.
With the win, Andover will play Duluth East on Thursday, March 1, at Amsoil Arena for a trip to the Class 2A State tournament.
1. Davis Tollette, Andover
Tollette, who has only played in eight games this year due to a torn ACL suffered during football season, couldn’t have picked a better time to score his third goal of the year. The senior captain buried in overtime to send his Huskies to the first section final in school history.
2. Calvin Rak, Andover
Rak is Andover’s workhorse, and he was very good on Saturday. Rak netted a pair of goals and added a helper to allow the Huskies to stay in a back-and-forth battle. With his speed and vision, Rak will give Duluth East a giant test on Thursday.
3. Lucas Kohls, Forest Lake
The big senior forward had four assists in the semifinal game, showing off his above average playmaking ability all night. Kohls, along with linemates C.J. Franklin and Brett Gravelle made life tough on the Huskies from start to finish.
Andover players crash the net in front of Forest Lake goalie Brian Levorson during Saturday's 7AA semifinal. Photos by Dave Harwig, ViewThroughMyLens.net