David La Vaque has covered all but one state hockey tournament game since 2009 and has worked as a Star Tribune high school sports reporter since 2004. His favorite tournament experiences include cheering for alma mater St. Paul Johnson in 1991 and staying for most of the Apple Valley/Duluth East marathon semifinal game in 1996. Loren Nelson has covered every state tournament since 2009 as the national media editor for Sport Ngin. He attended many, many other Tourney games as a high schooler from the far northern reaches of Minnesota making the annual pilgrimage south to the old St. Paul Civic Center in the 1980s.
Killing time while waiting for Spring Lake Park and Hermantown to hit the ice for their quarterfinal, so might as well finish off the last of the four Class 1A posts I had planned.
That means we’ll finally get to the Breck news I have been teasing, but first a little from I learned about St. Cloud Apollo but didn’t use in my Class 1A previews in the Star Tribune (hey, you’ve waited this long for the Breck news, a couple more paragraphs won’t hurt).
First, it should be noted that Pete Matanich has done a remarkable job reviving a left-for-dead Apollo program. The start of the Eagles’ resurgence can be traced to a stunning victory 3-1 over Little Falls in the Section 6 quarterfinals. That game marks what is believed to be the only time in state history a No. 9 seed has defeated a No. 1 seed.
“I got probably 150 text messages that night,” Matanich said. “Our program really responded after that.”
Apollo features one of the best defensemen in the Class 1A tourney in Tanner Breidenbach, a 6-foot-2 junior who leads the Eagles in scoring with 35 points. He should be fun to watch.
Now, on to Breck. Mustangs coach Les Larson, who has guided Breck to the state tournament in six of his seven seasons as head coach (winning state titles in 2009 and 2010), has floated the idea of moving up to Class 2A to members of Breck’s administration.
Larson, who has increasingly struggled to get Class 2A teams on the Mustangs' schedule, said he is willing to move up to the big-school level. And the school administration? Not so much.
“I would love to do that, and I think we could do that if we got support from the school,” Larson said about moving up. “I have had those discussions.”
The trial ballon didn’t gain much altitude. Breck is an academics school first, Larson said.
“And that’s fine,” he said. “They support us they give us everything we need.”
Larson said longtime rival St. Thomas Academy has dropped the Mustangs from the schedule for next season. Several other prominent Class 2A private schools, such as Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Cretin-Derham Hall and Hill-Murray, won’t play the Class 1A Mustangs, Larson said. Wayzata has been added to Breck’s schedule for next season, he said.
We’ll see Breck in a couple of hours when the Mustangs play St. Cloud Apollo in the last of the Class 1A quarters. Figures to be the best game of the day.
We’ll have more to post, I’m sure, after that game and the always entertaining Bruce Plante Media Session coming up after Hermantown’s game. Popcorn is encouraged for that one.
Tag(s): Two-Man Advantage