With helmets, gloves and sticks strewn across the ice, and Hermantown players wildly throwing themselves against the glass and each other, a voice boomed down from above:
“The play is under review. The play is under review.”
“All the smiles went right off all of our faces,” Hermantown junior forward Tyler Watkins said. “It was like, ‘Uh-oh.’ ”
Watkins’ premonition was right. His goal with 5:16 left in the second overtime in the Class 1A championship game against Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake on Saturday at Xcel Energy Center was waved off because of goaltender interference.
Hermantown players were left to collect their gear, and composure.
“We looked at each other on the bench, like we have pretty much all week, and said, ‘Alright, let’s go to work boys, we can do it,’ ” Hermantown senior Ryan Sandelin said after the No. 1-seeded Hawks defeated the unseeded Moose 4-3 on Dylan Samberg’s goal with 19.4 seconds left in the overtime.
The victory gave Hermantown (29-1-1) back-to-back titles in its eighth straight title-game appearance. The overtime game was the third in as many state tournament games this year for the Hawks. They rallied from a two-goal third-period deficit to defeat the Moose (23-7-1) after trailing St. Cloud Cathedral by as many as three goals in the semifinals on Friday.
Samberg’s winning goal came after Parker Simmons won a faceoff in the Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake end, drawing the puck back to the 6-3, 200-pound senior defenseman with a booming shot. Samberg fired low, and the puck found its way through a maze of players, skidding into the net just inside the right post.
Just the way it was planned, right?
“Absolutely not,” said Samberg, a Mr. Hockey finalist who has committed to play at Minnesota-Duluth. “I looked up and there were a lot of bodies in front of me, and I’m like, ‘There’s not a lot of time left, just kind of throw it on net.’ ”
The goal was reminiscent of several that beat Hermantown during the Hawks’ run of six consecutive runner-up appearances that was snapped with last season’s championship.
“He just threw it up there and (there are) 12 feet, 12 legs, eight sticks, and it just finds a hole,” Hermantown coach Bruce Plante said. “That puck luck really helps sometimes.”
Nick Zwack’s goal 26 seconds into the third period put the Moose ahead 3-1 and the Hawks in a familiar place, needing another comeback.
“We showed a lot of people around the state that we are a team to be reckoned with,” said Zwack, who scored four goals in the tournament.
Dylan Samberg scored with 19.4 seconds left in double overtime as No. 1-seeded Hermantown outlasted unseeded Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake 4-3 at Xcel Energy Center to avoid one of the biggest upsets in state Class 1A tournament history.
The Hawks (29-1-1), ranked No. 1 in the state most of the season, won their second consecutive title and the third in program history.
Samberg, a senior defenseman and Mr. Hockey finalist, scored the winning goal to spark a second wild championship celebration for the Hawks in a matter of minutes.
An apparent goal by Tyler Watkins with 5:16 left in the second overtime was disallowed after video review. It was ruled Hermantown’s Ryan Sandelin had made contact with Moose goalie Tyler Klatt in the crease area before Watkins’ shot went in the net. Hermantown players, who had celebrated wildly after the apparent goal, throwing their gloves, sticks and helmets in the air, had to find and put on their gear after the ruling.
The overtime game was the third of the tournament for the Hawks and marked just the fifth time a Class 1A championship game had gone to overtime, dating back to the two-class split in 1992. Hermantown had played in two of the previous four, in 2011 and 2015, losing both.
The Hawks trailed 2-1 heading into the third period, The Moose's Nick Zwack scored his fourth goal of the tournament 26 seconds into the third period to put Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake (23-7-1) ahead 3-1.
The Hawks clawed back on third-period goals 2:09 apart from Jesse Jacques and Tyler Watkins. The goal by Watkins, off a centering feed from Ryan Sandelin, tied the score at 3 with 5:35 left in regulation.
After a scoreless first period in which Hermantown outshot the Moose 15-1, Casey Chiodo and Ward scored 61 seconds apart to put them ahead 2-0. Ward’s goal came on a breakaway, as he deked then wheeled around a diving Hermantown goaltender Cade McEwen.
Klatt finished with 52 saves while Hermantown’s McEwen had 20.
Check back later for more on the game.
Star Tribune’s three stars
1. Dylan Samberg, Hermantown: Senior defenseman scored the winning goal that counted in double overtime to make the Hawks back-to-back champs.
2. Tyler Watkins, Hermantown: Would have finished with a hat trick if his OT goal hadn’t been disallowed. Junior forward still scored twice.
3. Nick Zwack, Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake: Scored to put the Moose ahead 3-1 early in the second period.