Monticello goaltender Tyler Klatt, Class 1A, Section 5 Final: Monticello vs North Branch Boys' Hockey. at the Elk River Ice Arena. March 1, 2018. Photo by Jeff Lawler/Courtesy MGA
Monticello (19-7-2) vs. Hermantown (No. 1, 20-6-2), 6 p.m.
Scouting the Moose: Last year’s state tournament darling returns with a new name and mostly new lineup. The Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake co-op no longer includes Annandale, so gone is the MAML acronym. Also gone are most of the key cogs who carried the Moose to a double-overtime loss to Hermantown in the title game. “It’s going to be a new experience for a lot of our guys,” said coach Eric Nelson, who relies heavily on an all-sophomore line led by Jeff Henrikson. Senior goalie Tyler Klatt and forward Troy Dahlheimer, a junior, are among the top returnees.
Scouting the Hawks: Hermantown has played for the Class 1A championship in each of the past eight years, winning the past two. Longtime coach Bruce Plante retired after last season. Former assistant coach Pat Andrews now leads the team, ranked No. 1 in the state for most of the season. “It’s been everything I hoped it would be,” Andrews said of his new role. Senior Tyler Watkins has six goals in three section playoff games and leads Hermantown with 66 points. No Hawks sophomore has made a bigger impact than forward Blake Biondi, who has 27 goals among his 54 points. He has verbally committed to Minnesota Duluth.
Worth knowing: Hermantown is unbeaten in 47 consecutive games against Class 1A competition.