Paul Masanz traveled more than 200 miles from his home in Park Rapids to Doug Woog Arena in South St. Paul Saturday.
The reason? To celebrate South St. Paul hockey.
"I think about it all the time: We went from a mudhole to the state tournament," said Masanz, a member of the Class of 1947 who that same year skated on the first Packer hockey team to play in the state tournament. "There were seven of us — 'Lefty' Smith, Harley Woog and some other guys — and we begged for some money to start a hockey team.”
That investment paid handsome dividends for South St. Paul, with its illustrious boys’ hockey history including 28 state tournament appearances and a number of famous alumni, including NHL Hall of Famer Phil Housley and former Gophers coach Doug Woog, among numerous others.
All of those alumni were honored in a special ceremony held during the first intermission of South St. Paul's contest with Rochester Century, which ended in a 2-2 tie.
The contest was a gritty, hard-fought game that saw the short-handed Packers twice rise up from a goal down to earn the draw.
South St. Paul and Rochester Century played to a 2-2 overtime draw during the Packers’ 75th anniversary celebration at Woog Arena in South St. Paul on Saturday.
The Panthers (10-2-1, 5-0-0) opened the scoring with an unassisted goal by senior Joey Malugani at 10:06 of the first period. Malugani’s tally was the game’s lone goal until a three-goal flurry in the third period.
Senior Jayce Schauer tied the game for the Packers (6-5-2, 1-3-0) with 5:43 remaining in the third period, but junior Lyncoln Bielenberg-Howarth gave Rochester Century the lead again exactly five minutes later.
But that lead didn’t last long, as South St. Paul senior Jake Saver — wearing the retired jersey of former Packers player and coach Doug Woog — scored with just 4:40 left to tie it.
Senior Tim Pundt finished with 34 saves for Rochester Century, while Cole Sitar stopped 28 shots for South St. Paul.
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