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.
Alex Adams, Grand Rapids
Adams scored this tournament’s first overtime goal to beat Bemidji 3-2. His goal came at 2:06 of the extra session on a great feed from Mitchell Mattson.
Jackson Cates, Stillwater
An injury to TJ Sagissor meant Stillwater’s other 20-plus goal scorers couldn’t have an off night. Who better than Cates, a senior with a team-best 26 goals, to step forward? Cates scored the first and last Stillwater goals in a 4-1 victory.
Casey Mittelstadt, Eden Prairie
Anoka coach Todd Manthey considered Blaine’s Riley Tufte a “man among boys” in the Northwest Suburban Conference. Having now seen Mittelstadt up close, Manthey puts him “in that ballpark.” Mittelstadt struck for a goal and five assists in a 7-3 victory.
Michael Talbot, Anoka
Those three goals Anoka scored against Eden Prairie all came off Talbot’s stick. The first tied the game 1-1. The second gave the Tornadoes life late in the second period. The third made for a memorable night, even if the final score favored Eden Prairie.
Nicky Leivermann, Eden Prairie
Two goals for the junior defenseman is reason enough to be recognized. But the second goal was something to behold. A rushing Leivermann maneuvered around an Anoka defenseman and fired the puck home.
Hank Sorensen, Wayzata
The junior defenseman not only played shut-down defense on Burnsville’s top line but also got into the offensive mix with a forecheck and pass that set up a goal. He led all players with six hits.
Alex Schilling, Wayzata
Burnsville crashed the net like Schilling stole something. In a sense, he did. The game. Shots on goal were basically even (Wayzata led 23-22) but Schilling was the difference. He made 21 saves and helped the Trojans march on to the semifinals.