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Great 8 Day 3: Purple squad of juniors from Sections 7/8 run the table to clinch championship

By Drew Herron, Minnesota Hockey, 03/26/18, 8:15AM CDT

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The Purple squad comprised of juniors from Sections 7/8 pose for a group photo with their trophy after going unbeaten to claim the championship at this year's Ted Brill Great 8 Festival at Doug Woog Arena. Photo by Drew Herron

PURPLE SQUAD RUNS THE TABLE TO CLAIM CHAMPIONSHIP

Northern-style hockey paved its way through three days (March 23-25) of the Ted Brill Great 8 Festival at Doug Woog Arena, capped off by the junior squad from Sections 7 and 8 finishing off its perfect four-game run with a 5-3 win over the seniors from Section 2 and 6.

Kyler Kleven of Moorhead finished the tournament with six goals and seven points to help lead the way for the northern juniors, as the Spuds’ forward scored at least once on all three days. Moreover, he was one of three Purple to finish atop the tournament standings, along with six points from  Andover’s Nick Dainty (3-3-6), and seven assists from Frederick Paine (Duluth East).

“It’s really cool to see how you can bring together this amount of skill on one team,” coach Ben Gustafson says. “But the physicality I think is what made them stand out and be successful.”

Purple played hard and fast for much of the weekend, using an aggressive forecheck and physical play work their way to the finals. The northern juniors dictated long stretches of zone time, and steadily got pucks deep to create scoring chances.

Section 2/6 switched jerseys from Royal Blue to Green for their finals match against the Purple to better differentiate the sides. 

Against the senior 2/6s, Purple struck first on Kleven’s goal 29 seconds in, but Green answered immediately with a goal by Aaron Frenkel (Blake) as the sides sat tied at 1 less than a minute into the final. 

But purple added two more to take a 3-1 lead into the halftime break, and they would lead the rest of the way.

In goal for the victorious Purple, Lukan Hanson (Duluth East) stopped eight of nine shots in the first half, and was followed in the second by Nathaniel Johnson (Rogers), who stopped nine of 11. 

At the other end, the goaltending work was shared by Jackson Hjelle (Delano) and Sawyer Anderson (Wayzata). Hjelle started the first half and stopped 12 of 15 shots, before Anderson took the crease in the second and made 16 saves on 18 shots.

Hjelle finished with a tournament best .940 save percentage, and he finished tied with Hanson for the best goals against average at 1.30.

The Purple team finished with an impressive plus-14 goal differential (21 goals scored to 7 allowed), and finished as just one of two teams, along with Royal Blue, to finish with a positive ratio figure. 

GOLD SQUAD BREEZES PAST GREEN 5-2 TO TAKE THIRD PLACE GAME

The Gold team comprised of seniors from Sections 7/8 wrapped up a strong tournament run with a 5-2 victory over Green (HP18 2/6) in the third place game Sunday afternoon at Doug Woog Arena.

Matt Fischer (Brainerd) opened the scoring 4:30 into action as Gold jumped out with four goals in the first half and never trailed. Five different players would score goals for Gold, while Connor Bizal (Elk River) and Aaron Myers (Thief River Falls) both finished with a pair of points in the victory.

Matt Fitzgerald (Bemidji) played the entire game for the 7/8 seniors, and made many clutch saves in the second half to keep Gold on top. Fitzgerald stopped 32 of 34 shots he faced.

Green’s goals both came in the second half as Jack Westlund (Alexandria) and Tim Piechowski (Eden Prairie) each scored for the 2/6 juniors.

In goal for Green, Collin Dorzinski (New Prague) and Camden Kreibich (Virginia) split time with Dorzinski playing the first and Kreibich closing out the second half. Dorzinski made eight saves on 12 shots, with Kreibich stopping 17 of the18 he faced.

The Gold team finished 3-1-0 on the weekend with its only blemish a 4-3 loss on Friday night to Royal Blue (Seniors 2/6). For the tournament, Gold finished with a plus-7 goal differential.

SENIORS TOP JUNIOR SQUAD FOR SHOOTOUT VICTORY IN FIFTH PLACE GAME FEATURING SECTIONS 4/5

The junior-senior clash between the squads from Sections 4/5 ended in a draw, with Light Blue (HP18) taking fifth place on a shootout.

The Whites (HPSR) outshot Light Blue 40-22, with over half of them coming in the first half. Light Blue goalie Brennan Boynton (Champlin Park) stopped 20 shots over the first 24 minutes to keep the juniors in the game.

Lucky to be tied 2-2 at the break, Light Blue stepped it up in the second half to make things tense down the stretch.

With 3:48 left, Light Blue reclaimed a lead they last held late in the first half when Zachary Lanz (Woodbury) scored, assisted by Cam Blue (Red Wing).

With 53 seconds remaining, White netted the equalizer when Cody Moline (North Branch) scored on a scramble. Assists went to Justin Thompson(Tartan) and Mick Rynerson (Blaine) on the goal.

In the shootout, Light Blue converted two of three attempts, while goalie Joseph Daininger (Blaine) held the Whites to just one score.

Reed Bartelings (Minnehaha Academy) tallied a goal and two assists to lead Light Blue and finish the game as the only player with multiple points.

Daininger finished the game with 16 saves on 18 shots after Boynton stopped 20 of 22 in the first half.

At the other end, Travis Allen (Centennial) worked the first half and stopped six of eight shots before Maximillian Ellefson (Irondale) played out the second half by stopping 12 of 14 shots.

SECOND HALF RALLY EARNS SEVENTH PLACE FOR GRAY

The Gray team (HP18 1/3) rallied with four second-half goals to complete a come-from-behind victory over Red (HPSR 1/3) with a 5-3 final Sunday morning at Doug Woog Arena.

Carter Eha (Bloomington Jefferson) netted the equalizer at 11:25 of the second half to make the score 3-3, and a short time later Dan McCabe (Minnesota River) notched the eventual game-winner with 8:57 remaining.

Luke Herzog (St. Thomas Academy) added an empty net goal with 40 seconds remaining to seal the win for the Grays. Herzog finished with a goal and two assists in the victory. Cole Jungwirth (Bloomington Jefferson) added a goal and an assist to finish with multiple points as well.

Tristan Larson (Bloomington Jefferson), Peter Meyer (Waseca) and Lucas Newman (Rochester Lourdes) all scored goals for Red in the loss. Michael Savelkoul (Albert Lea) netted two assists. 

In goal for Red, Jackson Killinger played the first half and stopped 12 of 14 shots before Jacob Gathje (Rochester Mayo) closed out the second half by making 13 saves on 16 shots.

For Gray, Thomas Ogren (East Ridge) started between the pipes and stopped 12 of 13 shots he faced. In the second half, Jack Cusey (Mankato East) made 14 saves on 15 shots.

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