Scouting the Thunderhawks (20-7-1)
The high-flying line of Gavin Hain, Blake McLaughlin and Mr. Hockey award finalist Micah Miller is a must-see. They have combined for 68 goals and 103 assists and provide the engine of the Thunderhawks’ attack. They accounted for six of the team’s eight goals against Elk River and Duluth East in the Section 7 playoffs. “They are three different types of player, but they fit together like a glove,” Grand Rapids coach Trent Klatt said. Improved defense also has the team in the title hunt. Drake Anderson, Jack Bowman, Michael Heitkamp and John Stampohar provide a solid core. “They take pride in playing well in the defensive zone,” Klatt said.
Scouting the Crimson (22-6)
A team with 15 seniors had plenty of talent, experience and leadership. But one big thing was missing — a goalie who could steal games. Enter Ethan Haider, a freshman who has played beyond his years. Haider’s 1-0 gem against Holy Family in December was a glimpse of things to come. He made 36 saves as the Crimson edged a fellow top-10 team in Centennial for the section title. Maple Grove coach Todd Bergland said Haider’s size (6-0, 160 pounds) and approach reminds him of Zane McIntyre, formerly Gothberg, of Thief River Falls. “At the start of the summer we didn’t know if he’d be capable, but he really grabbed the bull by the horns,” Bergland said. “He’s the real deal.”
Maple Grove senior forward Sam Huff exploded for 10 points (two goals, eights assists) in a 14-0 romp against Osseo. Teammate Justin Kelley tallied nine points (three goals, six assists) in the game.
david la vaque