Blaine junior forward Dallas Gerads celebrates after scoring a third-period goal as Minnetonka's Tommy Vannelli shows his disappointment. Gerads would later score the game winner in overtime. Photo by Brian Nelson
When Dallas Gerads was born he was unnamed until his mother's boss gave her a call.
On the caller ID, it said the incoming call was from Dallas, Texas.
Just like that, Dallas became the name of choice.
While the origin of his name is unique, his style of play and its results are not.
In No. 7-ranked Blaine's 3-2 overtime victory against. No. 4 Minnetonka, Gerads scored two goals, including the overtime game-winner with just 1 minute, 35 seconds left.
"He's just tough," Blaine coach Dave Aus said. "Dallas is not one of the biggest players on the ice, but he is physical and just gets into the game."
In much need of a win after a tough 7-5 loss to Northwest Suburban Conference and Section 5AA rival Maple Grove two nights before, Gerads provided the spark Blaine needed to head into sections.
In the overtime period Gerads took control of the puck and was racing toward the net with a Minnetonka defenseman with him stride-for-stride.
Gerads' linemate Joey Lau was rushing to the net, but Gerads elected to shoot and was able to squeak the puck through the legs of Skippers' goalie Paul Ciacco.
"I knew my linemate Lau was coming down streaking down the side and he was yelling shoot, shoot, shoot," Gerads said. "I knew he was going to the backdoor, so i thought if I shot low, maybe it would kick out a rebound and go in or go in when I shot."
"I wasn't sure if he was going to shoot or pass to be honest," Aus said. "There was another rush where he did shoot and Joey (Lau) was (complaining) to him about it on the bench, so when he had the chance in overtime I thought that he might slide that one over to Joey, who had a wide open net the time before."
But that is not Gerads' game.
He is more of a player that likes to be the center of attention.
Whether that is scoring a goal in overtime to beat the No. 4-ranked team in the state, the one that just ran through the Lake Conference without a blemish, or mixing it up with physically in front of the net or in the corners.
"I like to kind of be the main guy out there," Gerads said.
Gerads play was indicative to how the rest of the Bengals played.
They were quick to loose pucks, aggressive on the forecheck which forced turnovers and hit often.
"They are a fast team and play really physical," Skippers' coach Brian Urick said. "They are not the biggest team we face, but if you have more will you will find a way to get the job done."
Will might have been something that was missing for Blaine against its Northwester Suburban Confernce rival Maple Grove on Feb. 14.
It may have found it again and just in time for sections.
"It felt great because we had a little lapse against Maple Grove," Gerads said. "We didn't come out playing and we knew coming into this game that we could beat these guys and it would be great game if we came out and played our systems and played well."
On a breakaway Blaine's Tyler Cline puts a nice deke on Minnetonka goalie Jacob Berger to get him out of position but just misses wide left (below) on the open net. Photos by Brian Nelson
Dallas Gerads fires this wrist shot between the pads of Minnetonka goalie Jacob Berger for the game winner. Photo by Brian Nelson
Dallas Gerads scored with 1 minute, 35 seconds left in overtime to give No. 7-ranked Blaine a 3-2 win against No. 4 Minnetonka on Saturday, Feb. 16 at the State Fairground Coliseum in St. Paul.
Gerads finished with two goals. His first came with 3:43 left in the third period, but Minnetonka's Jack Ramsey answered just 49 seconds later to tie the score at 2.
Blaine's Tyler Cline opened the scoring in the first period when his shot hit the post but still found the back of the net.
The Skippers came back shortly after when Max Coatta fired a wrist shot from the right circle that found the upper left corner.
Minnetonka goalie Paul Ciacco made 25 saves on 26 shots through two periods. Jacob Berger played the third period and in overtime and made 16 saves on 18 shots. Blaine's Bailey Ketola stopped 31 shots.
The Skippers finish the regular season with an 18-6-1 record. Minnetonka went 8-0-0 in the Lake Conference.
Blaine improved to 19-5-1 and won the Northwest Suburban Conference with a 16-1-0 record.
Blaine goalie Bailey Ketola makes a save and Brandon Notermann clears the puck as Minnetonka winger Connor Thie looks on. Photo by Brian Nelson
1. Dallas Gerads, Blaine
The junior came up with two big goals, including the overtime winner with 1 minute, 35 seconds left to give the Bengals a much needed win after a tough loss to Maple Grove two nights ago. Gerads also assisted on Tyler Cline's goal for a three point night.
2. Bailey Ketola, Blaine
Facing off against one of the hottest teams in the state, Ketola controlled his rebounds and smothered a lot of pucks. He eliminated a lot of second chances for the Skippers and was positioned well all night.
3. Max Coatta, Minnetonka
The school's leading scorer added to his total with an impressive shot in the first period that found the upper corner and tied the score. Blaine did a great job defensively against the Skippers, but Coatta still found ways to not only score one, but created several others.
Minnetonka's Max Coatta, or "Moose" as teammates call him, scored the first goal for the Skippers. Photo by Brian Nelson