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Northfield boys' hockey season a 'dream come true'

03/18/2017, 5:55pm CDT
By Star Tribune

The Northfield boys’ hockey team finished fourth in its first trip to state

The Northfield boys’ hockey team pulled off the same accomplishment the girls’ team pulled off a week earlier, finishing fourth in the Class 1A state tournament. It marked the best finish in school history for both squads.

“The state tournament was truly a dream come true for Raider hockey,” Northfield boys’ coach Mike Luckraft said.

Luckraft’s group appeared in its first state tournament. It had lost in the Section 1 finals each of the previous two years.

“This year’s team benefited from the experience of playing in back-to-back section finals,’’ Luckraft said. “It played with a calm confidence even when the semifinal and final games went into overtime.”

Close calls in the state tournament became second nature for the Raiders, who finished with a record of 21-7-3. They upset Mahtomedi 3-1 in the quarterfinals before falling to Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake 3-2 on a goal with three seconds left and St. Cloud Cathedral 2-1 on a goal midway through the final period.

“You never really know how your team is going to respond until that puck drops for Game 1,” Luckraft said. “There’s simply not a way to simulate playing at an NHL arena in front of 10,000 fans.

“We had the state tournament first-period jitters. A few guys openly talked about shaky legs and hands. After that first period we were able to adjust a little, gather ourselves and play well.”

Ron Haggstrom

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