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Class 1A boys' hockey state quarterfinal preview: St. Cloud Apollo vs. Breck

03/03/2015, 9:02pm CST
By Star Tribune

St. Cloud Apollo (No. 5, 22-4-2) vs. Breck (No. 4, 21-7), 8 p.m. Wednesday

QUARTERFINAL

St. Cloud Apollo (No. 5, 22-4-2) vs. Breck (No. 4, 21-7), 8 p.m. Wednesday

Scouting the Eagles: Apollo’s 4-2 section championship victory over intracity rival St. Cloud Cathedral at a packed-to-the-rafters Municipal Athletic Complex easily ranks among the most memorable high school games in St. Cloud history. High-pressure, high-volume situations are nothing new to the Eagles, who knocked off top-seeded Alexandria 4-2 in the section semifinals in front of a capacity crowd in Alexandria. “I don’t think they could have fit one more body in that place,” Apollo coach Pete Matanich said of the hostile environment. Standout junior defenseman Tanner Breidenbach is the Eagles’ top scorer with 35 points. Junior forward Gino Lucia, nephew of University of Minnesota coach Don Lucia, has 32 points. Senior Jason Omann, a first-line forward since he was a sophomore, has 18 goals among his 33 points.

Scouting the Mustangs: Stephen Headrick (1.29 goals-against average, .923 save percentage) is one of two finalists for the Frank Brimsek Award that goes to the state’s top senior goaltender, joining Burnsville’s Dyllan Lubbesmeyer. The Mustangs, who had their run of five consecutive state tourney appearances halted by Orono last year, return with a lineup loaded with juniors and sophomores. Junior forward Chase Ellingson has team highs of 25 goals and 46 points. “It’s like we need a nursery,” Breck coach Les Larson said of the Mustangs’ youth movement — there are just three seniors on the roster. Larson guided the Mustangs to the state tournament in each of his first five seasons at the helm (2009-13).

Worth knowing: Apollo, the No. 4 seed in the Section 6 tournament, is the only team in the Class 1A field that was seeded lower than No. 2 in sectional play to reach the state tournament.

LOREN NELSON

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