Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin players celebrate a goal in the second period. Photo: LEILA NAVIDI ¥ firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Troumbly had practiced for this moment. Hundreds of times.
So he went through his checklist without thinking.
Keep your poise. Stay calm. Move your feet. Get to open ice.
“When that net opens up, it’s so big, it’s like you can’t miss,” Troumbly said after scoring 23 seconds into overtime on Friday to lift Greenway, the tiny Iron Range program that was all but dead a decade ago because of a player shortage, past Mahtomedi 3-2 and into the Class 1A championship game.
Troumbly’s winner capped an unlikely comeback for the unseeded Raiders (17-13), who have the most losses of any team in the tournament. Relying mostly on two forward lines compared to No. 1-seed Mahtomedi’s three, Greenway — with a listed enrollment of 269 compared to Mahtomedi’s 1,136 — mustered the energy and resolve to rally from a 2-1 deficit in the final two minutes.
The little team that could, did.
Junior forward Ben Troumbly popped a loose puck into an open net 23 seconds into overtime to vaulted unseeded Greenway past top-seeded Mahtomedi 3-2 on Friday in the Class 1A semifinals.
The victory sends the tiny school from the Iron Range, which saw its numbers dwindle to program-threatening levels a decade ago, into a state championship game for the first time since 1992.
Troumbly, who has committed to play at St. Cloud State, forced the overtime period with 1:46 left in regulation, blasting a rising a shot past Mahtomedi freshman goaltender Ben Dardis’ left ear to tie the score at 2.