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Notebook: Coaches honor Bianchi; Longer periods coming?

By Loren Nelson, 03/05/16, 7:15PM CST

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Former Bloomington Jefferson coach John Bianchi gets top MHCA award

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.


Former Bloomington Jefferson assistant coach John Bianchi was honored by the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association on Friday with the Cliff Thompson Award, which is given for outstanding long-term contributions to the sport of hockey in Minnesota.
 
Bianchi was a longtime coach (1974-1995), teacher and principal at Jefferson. He had a son play on all five of the Jaguars' state championship teams (Steve in 1982, Tony in 1989 and Joe in 1992, 1993 and 1994). Bianchi was inducted into the MHCA Hall of Fame in 1999.
 
Erik Aus (Centennial), Dave Morinville (Moorhead), Keith Hendrickson (Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl) and Tom McFarlane (Cloquet) were in this year's hall of fame class.
 
Coaches of the Year
Pat O’Leary of Wayzata was named the Class 2A coach of the year and Steve Olinger of Eden Prairie the Class 2A assistant coach of the year by the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association on Friday.
 
The top coaches in Class 1A were Chris Olson of Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato (head coach) and Dave Swanberg of LeSueur/Henderson/St. Peter/Tri-City United/Cleveland.
 
Longer games on the horizon?
Benilde-St. Margaret’s coach Ken Pauly, former president of the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association, said the state’s boys’ hockey coaches have put in a request to the Minnesota State High School League to have the length of periods extended from 17 to 20 minutes. Pauly said the coaches expected to learn the status of their request in the fall. In 2003, the MSHSL approved a bump in periods lengths from 15 to 17 minutes.
 
50-goal Club inductee
Thief River Falls forward Ethan Johnson became the newest member of the state’s “50-goal Club” when he scored in the Prowlers’ 4-1 victory over St. Paul Academy in Saturday’s Class 1A third-place game. The goal gives Johnson 50 this season, the most in Thief River Falls history.
 
Grand Rapids wins another thriller
Dramatic victories have become commonplace for Grand Rapids in this year’s playoffs, and the Thunderhawks continued that trend on Saturday in the state Class 2A third-place game. Trailing Stillwater 2-0 entering the final period, Brendan Mark, Drake Anderson and Mitchell Mattson scored in the third to give Grand Rapids a 3-2 victory. Mattson’s winning goal came with 5:12 remaining.
 
Six Hermantown, three Wayzata players on all-tourney teams
Below are the MSHSL’s Class 1A and Class 2A all-tournament teams as voted on by a panel of coaches and media members attending the tournament.

MSHSL Class 1A All-Tournament Team

School Position Name
Thief River Falls Defense Brendan Bushy
Thief River Falls Forward Ethan Johnson
Breck Forward Chase Ellingson
Breck Defense Justin Paulson
Breck Goalie Linden Olness
Breck Forward William Blake
Hermantown Forward Cole Koepke
Hermantown Defense Eric Gotz
Hermantown Forward Jesse Jacques
Hermantown Goalie Luke Olson
Hermantown Forward Ryan Sandelin
Hermantown Defense Wyatt Aamodt

MSHSL Class 2A All-Tournament Team

School Position Name
Bemidji Goalie Matt Fitzgerald
Bemidji Defense Nick Leitner
Bemidji Forward Alex Pollock
Grand Rapids Forward Alex Adams
Grand Rapids Forward Micah Miller
Stillwater Forward Jackson Cates
Eden Prairie Forward Casey Mittelstadt
Eden Prairie Forward Michael Graham
Eden Prairie Defense Nicky Leivermann
Wayzata Goalie Alex Schilling
Wayzata Defense Grant Anderson
Wayzata Defense Hank Sorensen

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Moorhead's Jack Stetz (21) throws his arms up as he and his teammates celebrated the win. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@startribune.com