Orono’s Thomas Walker scored a goal on Mahtomedi goalie Bailey Huber for his third goal of the game in the second period. Photo: BRIAN PETERSON • email@example.com
A blown four-goal lead did not alter Orono senior captain Thomas Walker’s message to teammates on the bench.
“I tell them all the time, ‘We made it this far. Why would we ever give up now? There’s no reason we should ever not give a 100 percent effort, especially at the state tournament,’ ” Walker said.
Wrestling a 5-4 semifinal victory from equally determined Mahtomedi took more than the 51 minutes of regulation time. Dane Korsi scored at 2:26 of the first overtime session, batting an airborne puck into the net.
Blowing a four-goal lead failed to unnerve Orono, which won a stirring 5-4 overtime victory against Mahtomedi on Friday in the Class 1A semifinals.
Dane Korsi scored at 2:26 of the first overtime session.
No. 3 seed Orono (22-7-1) built a 4-0 lead at 13:18 of the second period. But Mahtomedi took charge from there. The Zephyrs cut their deficit to 4-2 by the second intermission.
They came out flying in the third period, leading to a goal by Aidan Pearson just 15 seconds into the frame and another from Jeff Kneale at 2:03.
No. 2 seed Mahtomedi (22-6-1) outshot the Spartans 46-28.
The Spartans advance to play at noon on Saturday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. They face the winner of Friday’s second semifinal, No. 1 seed Hermantown or No. 4 seed Alexandria.
Orono’s previous title game appearance came in 2004, a 7-2 loss to Breck.
Check back later for more on the game.