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Hanowski Makes Statement, Scores 5 In Flyers 6-2 Win

By Brian Halverson, 03/11/09, 8:48PM CDT

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If casual hockey fans didn’t know who Ben Hanowski was before the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament began, the record-setting forward from Little Falls made an unforgettable first impression in the Flyers’ quarterfinal win over Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl on Wednesday evening at the Xcel Energy Center.

Hanowski, who surpassed former Red Wing great Johnny Pohl this season as the state’s all-time leading scorer, reached the 400 point mark in his career with an incredible five-goal performance to lead the Flyers over the Blue Devils 6-2.

Riley Hirsch contributed four points on the evening with a goal and three assists and goaltender Michael Sperl had a strong game, making 17 saves to get the win.

With the victory, the Flyers avenged a season-opening 1-0 loss to the host Blue Devils on December 5.

The Ben-barrage began at 11:54 of the first period when Hanowski went top-shelf with a wicked backhand shot over defenseless Blue Devil goaltender Will Lustig. The St. Cloud State recruit would go on to score three times in the second period including one on a beautiful play set up by Ben Nelson.

Nelson, carrying the puck into the slot, drew a Blue Devil defender to him before dishing off to Hanowski down low. Hanowski faked a shot moving from right to left across the front of the net leaving Lustig sprawled out side of his crease and only an open net to shoot at.

Hanowski registered his 400 point with his state-record 194th career goal at 3:40 of the third giving the Flyers a six-goal lead before goals by Virginia/MIB’s Garrett Hendrickson and Chris Westin gave Blue Devil fans a reason to cheer late in the game. Hanowski’s five goals give him 71 on the season to go with 59 assists.

Little Falls advances to the Class A semifinals at 1 pm on Friday afternoon at the Xcel Energy Center against a talented Breck team with the winner moving on to Saturday’s Class A title game. The Mustangs earned the right to play the Flyers with a 3-0 victory over Rochester Lourdes in Wednesday’s nightcap.