Hawks, Hunters Prepare for Section 7A Championship Game
Hermantown and Duluth Denfeld prepare to clash for a ticket to the state tournament.
DULUTH, Minn. – The Section 7A Boys Hockey Tournament has been whittled down to just two teams the top seed Hermantown Hawks and number two seed Duluth Denfeld Hunters.
Hermantown is coming off an 8-0 win over Eveleth Gilbert to make it to their twelfth straight championship game.
“Everything right now is just building for that first period on Wednesday night and get the guys comfortable and feeling good and flying around the rink,” said Patrick Andrews, Hermantown’s head coach.
The Hermantown squad includes nine seniors and Coach Andrews attributes their success this season to the team’s experience.
“They’re experienced they’ve been here and they’re men they’re young men…we’re going to go as far as the seniors will take us, we told them at the beginning of the year it’s your year and we’ll follow them as far as they want to take us and they’ve just been outstanding leaders,” said Andrews.
This will be the Denfeld Hunters first section championship game since 2011.
Coach Dale Jago has worked on respect and accountability with the young team and says the players have been dedicated.
“It’s all up to the kids they come to work every day they work hard they try hard they make mistakes but it’s all on our players they got us here and I’m really proud of them,” said Dale Jago, the head coach of Denfeld.
Coach Jago says Hunters senior Griffin Lehet has worked hard to get where he is and he knows the impact he has on the younger players.
“We’ve got a young team so obviously gonna have the nerves and stuff just gotta control my emotions and lead by example really and calm them down,” says Lehet.
Last year, Hermantown lost in the championship game to Greenway and they have not forgotten it.
“It’s been a long time coming here it’s been a lot of waiting and obviously we wanted to get better each day so it’s definitely going to fuel us a lot,” said Blake Biondi, the top scorer for Hermantown this year.
“Adversity is a gift if you let it teach you and that’s kind of been our mantra to the boys all year,” said Andrews.
The stakes are high. The winner of Wednesday’s game punches their ticket to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul to play in the state tournament.
For the boys, it is all about enjoying the game of hockey.
“Just playing with the boys for a chance to go to state that’s really what we would be happy for me and for the boys to get there,” said Lehet.
“I love this, this is the best thing ever, this is what I live for there’s nothing more honestly I love this more than anything I’m just going to go enjoy it I’m just going to go play my game and do my thing and I think that’s going to be enough,” said Biondi.
Puck drop is Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Amsoil Arena.