Mahtomedi junior forward Joe Paradise, the grandson of hockey royalty Herb Brooks and Bob Paradise, scored the state hockey tournament’s first goal and two overall in the Zephyrs’ 4-2 victory over Mankato East/Loyola on Wednesday.
Brooks starred for St. Paul Johnson’s 1955 state championship team. He and Bob Paradise, a former Cretin standout, were teammates in the 1968 Winter Olympics.
After his first goal, Paradise held his arm aloft as teammates crowded around for an imaginary selfie. Would his old-school grandfathers approve?
“Absolutely, as long as they won,” Kelly Brooks Paradise, Joe’s mother, wrote in a text message. “When you are a 16-year-old boy, you simply love the game, and it’s supposed to be fun.”
Hermantown to 2A?
First-year coach Patrick Andrews of Hermantown, a Duluth suburb, hopes to see the successful, scrutinized program opt up to Class 2A beginning with the 2019-20 season.
A record eight consecutive Class 1A championship game appearances changed the Hawks’ identity from charming northern school to a big fish in need of a larger pond.
Hermantown has won 48 consecutive games against Class A teams.
“I said when I got the job — I coached bantam double-A and the teams that have become our natural rivals are Duluth East, Cloquet-Esko-Carlton, Grand Rapids, and I think that’s where we belong, I really do,” Andrews said. “I think that’s going to happen.”
Bye-bye to the blonds
Dating back to at least 2009 and as recently as last year, it’s been tradition for Mahtomedi players to dye their hair blond for the state tournament.
Over the years, as that fad has faded on other teams, Mahtomedi became holdouts in terms of adopting an all-for-one hair color.
This year, however, the Zephyrs were noticeably non-bleached as they hit the ice for Wednesday’s quarterfinals.
What, no blond hair?
“No, unfortunately,” Zephyrs senior captain Charlie Bartholomew said.
“We’re here to play hockey,” said Mahtomedi coach Jeff Poeschl, who before the tournament quipped, “Bleach is for bathtubs and white T-shirts.”
Nerves boost net play
Jack Cusey, Mankato East/Loyola’s superb senior goaltender, was relieved that he suffered from a severe case of jitters before Wednesday’s quarterfinals.
The four-year starter, who owns every major Mankato East goaltending record, was solid in stopping 33 of 37 Mahtomedi shots.
“Last week before the section championship game, I said, ‘Are you nervous?’ ” Cougars’ coach Adam Fries said. “And he said, ‘I always play really good nervous.’ And then after that game I said, ‘Well, I can’t wait until next Wednesday then.’ ”
Wednesday’s afternoon session drew an announced 6,590. The evening session drew 6,036.