Lakeville North’s Poehling brothers grew up in bona fide state tournament shrine.
Over here, vintage programs in glass cases. Over there, original Terrence Fogarty state tourney paintings from the years the boys have made it to St. Paul. And that stick tucked in the corner? That’s the one Nick used to score a hat trick as a sophomore in a 2013 quarterfinal loss to Edina.
“It’s definitely runs in our family,” senior Jack Poehling said about the hand-me-down passion for the event after Lakeville North’s 4-1 victory over Duluth East in Saturday’s Class 2A boys’ hockey state championship game in front of session-record crowd announced at 19,495 at Xcel Energy Center. “The state tournament is something that is very special for us.”
Jack’s power-play goal in the second period proved to be the winner. Ryan, who played despite being diagnosed with mono earlier in the week and being restricted to his bed and an IV drip when he wasn’t playing, opened the scoring for the Panthers. In the most dominant performance of all, Nick had a goal, three assists and team-best five shots.
As for that shrine, Nick isn’t thrilled that old 2013 stick is considered a keepsake. The Panthers, after all, lost that game to the Hornets 9-3. Keeping the stick was dad’s idea.
Tim Poehling just couldn’t help himself. He is a state tournament fanatic, just like his father, Leo.
Leo has had state tournament season tickets since 1971.
“Just so proud,” Leo said about watching his grandkids play in the championship game.
He passed on his unabashed love to Tim, who as a grade-schooler was allowed to miss one day of school each spring to attend the event. Thursday or Friday, son, take your pick.
“I would always pick Thursday,” Tim said. “And try to talk my way into Friday.”
The Poehling’s passion for the tournament reached the stratosphere each of the last three years. Jack and Nick have played in it as sophomores, and Ryan joined them on a forward line each of the past two seasons.
Twice the brothers have combined on goals at the tournament. Poehling from Poehling and Poehling. It is believed those are the only two times in state tournament history a trio of brothers have combined on a goal.