vs. Duluth Denfeld

5:15 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 10

Hermantown is coming off an impressive 2-1 overtime win over previously undefeated St. Cloud Cathedral, the top-ranked team in Class 1A.

Joey Pierce’s overtime winner was his ninth goal of the season, which moved him into a tie for the team lead in goals. The player he shares the spot with is Blake Biondi, who has a team-best 22 points.

A difficult challenge at Grand Rapids on Tuesday awaits the No. 2-1A Hawks (8-3, 1-0) before they enter Thursday’s matchup with Duluth Denfeld, which is off to its best start in years.

The Hunters have a chance to make this game competitive, which hasn't happened recently. Denfeld kept the score close in a 3-1 loss in the 2014-15 regular season and a 3-2 overtime defeat in the 2013-14 regular season, but it has been routed in the other matchups, including the postseason. The Hunters' last win in the series came on Dec. 20, 2012 — a 5-4 victory.

A year ago, Denfeld fell to Hermantown 7-1 in their regular-season contest. To erase the sting of a long losing streak and find a victory this go-round, the Hunters (8-3-1, 1-0) can turn to a pair of 20-point scorers in Payton Budisalovich (12-12-24) and Griffin Lehet (14-8-22).