Northland Hockey Teams Ready for State
Hermantown, Duluth East and Superior are Familiar with State Stage
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Three teams. Two states. One goal. To win a championship.
Hockey programs from Hermantown, Duluth East, and Superior are no strangers to state hockey tournaments.
For the Hawks, this is their sixth trip to state in a row. Each of the last five have ended in the championship game, unfortunately with no titles to show for it.
As the top seed Hermantown is among the favorites, but Hawks coach Bruce Plante says success won’t be judged by playing on Saturday.
“Whatever happens from now is gravy, really,” said Plante. “You want to win that section for sure, at least you’re king of the locals for a while. But what happens down there is what happens down there. We’d love to win it, but we’ll be fine if we don’t.”
Duluth East is making its seventh straight trip to state, and 16th under coach Mike Randolph.
The Greyhounds face St. Thomas Academy Thursday in the second Class AA quarterfinal.
East lost to STA back in December at the Schwan Cup. However, Randolph says you can toss that game out the window.
“That game back at Christmas time, we were kind of a mess,” Randolph said. “We didn’t have a very good Christmas, in fact we lost all three games. We know we’re better, now we’ll find out if they’re better and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Meanwhile in Wisconsin, Superior is making its 12th trip to state in the last 13 years.
But at 11–15–1 the Spartans are the only team in the field with a losing record.
However, Superior coach Jason Kalin says he and his team are fine with the underdog role.
“They have to recognize there’s not a team in Wisconsin with a schedule that compares with ours, said Kalin. We’re playing the best teams because we want to make ourselves better come playoff time and we’ve competed all season long. We’re not going down there afraid of anybody.”
Superior faces Janesville Parker/Craig Wednesday at 1:15 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.