It's not like Hermantown hasn't been here before.
Coming off of three consecutive Section 5A championships, the Hawks knew they had experience on their side.
“Experience, and just nerves in the beginning of the game and stuff like that, if you've been there before it just makes it a lot easier to do it a second time, or even a third like some of our guys,” Hawks senior winger Travis Koepke said.
It took Hermantown just over half a period to show how much that experience can come in handy before it cruised to a 4-1 win over St. Cloud Cathedral on Friday, March 1, at the Ice Forum at Champlin.
“The nerves are still there, but after we come out and play we get settled down a bit and I think we get clicking again,” Hermantown senior forward Bo Gronseth said.
That “clicking” that he's referring to happened in the second period where the Hawks extended their lead and never looked back. After Gronseth got Hermantown (23-4-1) on the board just 9 minutes, 40 seconds into the first period, the Hawks traded chances with the Crusaders (20-8-0) until the end of the first period. When both teams came out for the second, it was clear that Hermantown was intent on winning.
Gronseth scored his second goal of the game, and the eventual winner, at the 7:59 mark of the middle frame, and it took just 33 seconds after that for Scott Wasbotten to push the lead to 3-0.
Adam Smith made 26 saves for the Hawks, including a few just minutes into the game that prevented Hermantown from being in early hole.
“They jumped on us right away. They got some shots, but we played pretty good team defense. Adam can handle all those shots if we keep them out, and he played great today,” Koepke said.
Smith entered the matchup riding a two-game shutout streak. The lone goal he allowed Friday night came when St. Cloud Cathedral had an empty net and an extra attacker.
Christian Wasbotten and Chris Benson added two assists each for the Hawks, who are headed to the state tournament for the ninth time in their history.
Dan Bailey had the lone goal for the Crusaders with assists to Austin Swingle and Austin Poganski. Goalie Josh Robak did his best to keep St. Cloud Cathedral in the game, making 22 saves, but it wasn't enough to quell the potent Hermantown offense.
After battling through an even first period, Hermantown defended its Section 5A title by dominating the second period en route to a 4-1 victory over St. Cloud Cathedral on Friday, March 1 at the Ice Forum at Champlin.
Senior Bo Gronseth got the Hawks on the board just 9 minutes, 40 seconds into the first, but it wasn't until the next period that Hermantown (23-4-1) really broke the game open.
Gronseth scored his second of the night, and the eventual game-winner, at the 7:59 mark of the second period, and that seemed to give the Hawks a jump that the Crusaders (20-8-0) could not match.
After Scott Wasbotten put Hermantown up 3-0 just 33 seconds later, the Hawks were well on their way to another state Class 1A tournament. Adam Smith, who hadn't allowed a goal in his previous two games, blocked 26 of the Crusaders' 27 shots.
Chris Benson and Christian Wasbotten added two assists each to help guide the Hawks to their fourth consecutive state tournament appearance.
Dan Bailey scored the lone goal for the Crusaders with assists going to Austin Swingle and Austin Poganski.
Travis Koepke added an empty net goal for Hermantown with just 1:11 left.