Tanner Mack (19) of East Grand Forks in a game against Totino-Grace on Nov. 30, 2018. Photo: Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine
Minnesota River (20-4) vs. East Grand Forks (No. 3, 20-8), 1 p.m.
Scouting the Bulldogs: It’s the first state tournament for the program formerly known as the alphabet soup acronym LSHSPTCUC, which draws players from five high schools, including St. Peter and Le Sueur-Henderson, along a 26-mile stretch of the Minnesota River. Senior forward Hunter Wilmes extended a dominating regular season (22 goals, 29 assists) into the playoffs, scoring seven goals in three games. He had a hat trick in the section final against Rochester Lourdes. Senior Tyson Sowder, whose backyard rink in St. Peter is a team gathering spot, has 21 goals and 22 assists.
Scouting the Green Wave: Tyler Palmiscno, back as coach after a three-year break from hockey, guided East Grand Forks to back-to-back titles in 2014 and ’15. There are plenty more familiar East Side names on the roster, including Mason Poolman, a junior forward whose older brothers Tucker and Colton previously starred for the Green Wave. Senior Tanner Mack leads a balanced offense with 19 goals and 40 points. All 18 skaters on the roster have at least one point in the playoffs. “We feel like it is hard for other teams to focus on one guy, one line,” Palmiscno said.
Worth knowing: Longtime former Le Sueur-Henderson athletic director and hockey coach Dave Swanberg played high school hockey at East Grand Forks.