Hibbing/Chisholm vs. Duluth Denfeld

7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 23

Iron Range Conference teams aren’t the forces of nature they once were while dominating state tournaments for the better part of four decades, but the vast swath of northern Minnesota that they represent — from the Iron Range on the south, the Canadian border on the north and North Shore of Lake Superior on the east — still produces quality teams and players. Case in point is Hibbing/Chisholm, which started 1-2-0 this winter but has lost just once since late January and is 6-3-1 entering Tuesday’s matchup with Duluth Denfeld (4-1-1).

Senior Conner Willard has played a big role in the Bluejackets’ resurgence. He has a team-best eight goals, including the five he scored on Feb. 1 in a 7-2 triumph against Proctor. Senior Ethan Lund (5 goals, 6 assists) is another key forward.

The No. 7-1A Hunters, considered the favorite to challenge No. 1-1A Hermantown for the Class 1A, Section 7 championship, feature an array of stars led by senior Kade Shea, the team’s goal-scoring leader with seven and co-points leader with junior Simon Davidson with 17. The relentless McClure twins, juniors Cooper and Connor, have combined for 23 points.