David La Vaque has covered all but one state hockey tournament game since 2009 and has worked as a Star Tribune high school sports reporter since 2004. His favorite tournament experiences include cheering for alma mater St. Paul Johnson in 1991 and staying for most of the Apple Valley/Duluth East marathon semifinal game in 1996. Loren Nelson has covered every state tournament since 2009 as the national media editor for Sport Ngin. He attended many, many other Tourney games as a high schooler from the far northern reaches of Minnesota making the annual pilgrimage south to the old St. Paul Civic Center in the 1980s.
Back this year by popular demand, Two-man Advantage presents the first of its daily All-Tournament Team selections. Day 1:
Cole Koepke, Hermantown
One-upped Wednesday’s trio of players with hat tricks by scoring four goals on six shots. The senior forward also had two assists and a plus-minus rating of plus-7.
Ethan Johnson, Thief River Falls
The senior goal-scoring machine was comfortable on the big stage from the get-go, scoring twice in the first period to give the Prowlers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. He finished with three goals, added an assist and had a game-high eight shots on goal.
Chase Ellingson, Breck
The Mr. Hockey award finalist didn’t disappoint, scoring three goals, including one on a YouTube-worthy shorthanded end-to-end rush. Also had a no-look, behind-the-back pass that set up a goal.
William Blake, Breck
The senior scored three unanswered goals in a span of 6:41 in the second period to put the Mustangs in control.
Dev McCabe, St. Paul Academy
New rule: Third-period game-winners in rare, tightly contested Class 1A quarterfinal games automatically gain entry on the list.
Wyatt Aamodt, Hermantown
The Mr. Hockey finalist, the newly anointed Reed Larson award winner for being the state’s top senior defenseman, played his usual rock-steady defense and finished with a plus-minus rating of plus-7.
Brendan Bushy, Thief River Falls
The junior scored a goal and added one of his two assists during a crucial stretch in the second period. He also fired six shots on goal.
Kade Nelson, Thief River Falls
Had 21 saves and allowed just one goal. Made some big stops early before his Prowlers’ teammate Ethan Johnson took over. Earns bonus points for being well-spoken (highly quotable) in the postgame media session.