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Hermantown's mind-boggling run of six straight runner-up finishes isn't unprecedented

By Loren Nelson, Sport Ngin, 03/12/15, 11:00PM CDT


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.

High school hockey historian Craig Roberts has spent a lifetime researching scores, statistics, records and most anything else related to high school hockey on a nationwide scale.

Hermantown's mind-boggling run of second-place finishes reached six straight (and counting) this year, a streak that his hard to put into perspective because it is so, so rare.

How rare?

All of the information below was compiled by Roberts and relayed in his words. Fascinating stuff.

1. Alaska - Dimond High in Anchorage lost seven ASAA title games in nine years between 2002-2010. The school opened in 1967 and is named after Judge AJ Dimond.
2. Colorado - Air Academy (Air Force Academy high school) Kadets lost five CHSAA state title games in a seven year period between 1985-1991. To put this in perspective, Colorado's first state hockey championship was in 1976.
3. Indiana - The storied program at Culver Academy, granted it was their "B" team, lost four straight state title games to Park Tudor School from 1994-1997.
4. Maryland - Mount St. Joseph in Baltimore lost four straight Maryland Scholastic Hockey League title games between 2006-2009. At the time, known as the Capitals Cup.
5. Massachusetts - Boston College High, very well respected New England hockey program, lost seven "Super 8" title games in 10 years, most to bitter rival Catholic Memorial, between 1995 and 2004. To soften the blow they did win the title twice during that time. The Super 8, by the way, is their top level prep hockey playoff. Open to the best public and private high schools.
6. New Hampshire - Berlin High lost 8 straight state title games, all to Notre Dame, between 1949-1956. It should be noted however, there were less than five, maybe six schools with hockey at that time in the entire state. Consequently, this isn't as impressive as it sounds.
7. Rhode Island - Bishop Hendricken in Warwick lost seven RIIL state championships in eight years between 1981-1988. All were lost to Mount St. Charles Academy, who at the time, were in the early stages of reeling off 26 consecutive state titles (1978-2003). Hendricken is home of Dave Emma, who won the Hobey Baker in 1991 and, I think, played in the NHL for a while.
8. And lastly, Maine - The red and white Cony High Rams in Augusta lost six straight Class B hockey championship games between 1980-1985. The school was founded in 1816 as a girls academy by Daniel Cony.

That's the end of Roberts' contribution. Thanks, as always, Craig!

As Roberts' pointed out, another title game loss next year would put Hermantown and coach Bruce Plante in record territory. For those willing to project that far ahead, Hermantown returns most of its top defensemen and starting goaltending, and a decent chunk of its scoring. However, state tournament qualifiers Mahtomedi, Breck, St. Cloud Apollo and two-time defending champion East Grand Forks all figure to be strong again next season.

Stay tuned.

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