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Boys' hockey tournament notes: Small-school fans pack Xcel stands

03/06/2015, 10:36pm CST
By LOREN NELSON, Special to the Star Tribune

A crowd of 12,487 was announced, the largest for a Friday afternoon session dating to 1995.

East Grand Forks coach Tyler Palmiscno is well-versed in the rhythms of the Class 1A tournament, having led his Green Wave to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul in each of the past three seasons.

Yet even Palmiscno was taken aback by the sheer number of boisterous, yellow-clad Mahtomedi fans in attendance for Friday’s semifinal.

“I asked Mahtomedi’s coach [Jeff Poeschl] how big their community was and he said, ‘7,500’ and I said, ‘Well, I think they’re all here,’ ” Palmiscno said. “Their student section was huge for a Class 1A game.”

A crowd of 12,487 was in attendance, the largest for a Friday afternoon session dating to 1995 when the tournament was split into two classes. The previous record for the Class 1A semifinals was 11,320 in 2012.

“In my 10 years with the tournament, I have not see the A semis with that size of a crowd,” tournament director Craig Perry of the Minnesota State High School League said.

Typically the upper section of the Xcel Center is closed for Class 1A games. But that portion of the arena was opened early in the day by officials monitoring fans flooding through the gates.

The league also announced revised attendance numbers for both Thursday sessions because of what it termed a system error. The Thursday afternoon session was revised from 15,005 to 18,749. Thursday evening’s attendance went from 14,993 to 19,005.

Excited return

What is believed to be an arm injury had knocked star junior defenseman Trevor Selk out of East Grand Forks’ lineup for the past six weeks. He watched Wednesday’s quarterfinal victory over New Prague in street clothes, and didn’t figure to play in Friday’s semifinals against Mahtomedi.

That prognosis changed Thursday when a Twin Cities doctor cleared him to play.

“It was awesome,” Selk said with a smile about hearing the news he could play. “I was with my mom, and she was pumped and I was pumped.”

Selk not only played a regular shift, he scored 3:16 into the third period to put East Grand Forks ahead 4-2.

“It’s great to have him back,” Green Wave senior Grant Loven said.

On goes Cadets’ Tufto

Through two state tournament games, St. Thomas Academy senior forward Peter Tufto has been involved in all nine Cadets goals. Tufto had two goals and three assists in St. Thomas Academy’s 6-5 overtime loss to Duluth East on Thursday. On Friday he had two goals and two assists in the Cadets’ 4-2 victory consolation semifinal victory over Bemidji.

Tufto’s nine points in the tournament bumps his school single-season record to 81. Tom Novak held the previous record with 75.

Day 3 Recap

 

THE QUOTE

“What are the odds? Think about it. What are the odds to be in that game six years in a row? It’s almost laughable if it didn’t hurt so much.”

Bruce Plante, whose Hawks have lost in the Class 1A title game each of the past five years

 

NUMBERS

2

Teams (Breck and St. Thomas Academy) that have repeated as Class 1A champions.

4

Consecutive games in which Duluth East has defeated higher-seeded opponents.

9

Points in two state tournament games scored by St. Thomas Academy’s Peter Tufto.

 

THREE STARS

1. Ash Altmann

The Duluth East junior missed on his first breakaway chance but not the second, and his third-period goal clinched the Greyhounds’ stunning victory over Edina.

 

2. Grant Loven

The East Grand Forks forward scored three goals and dished at least as many bone-rattling hits to lead the rock-’em, sock-’em Green Wave past Mahtomedi.

 

3. Luke Olson

Hermantown’s 5-7 mighty sprite of a goaltender stopped all 13 shots he faced against St. Cloud Apollo.

 

Attendance: Friday’s Class 2A semfinal evening session drew an announced 21,609, the largest crowd ever to see any indoor hockey game in Minnesota. The 1A semifinals drew an announced 12,487, a tournament record for the session dating to 1994.

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