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Hockey Day Hat Trick

Hermantown’s Kohanski nets three goals coming back from wrist injury

Hermantown's Kade Kohanski battles through a Mahtomedi check on his way to a hat trick on Hockey Day Minnesota at Polar Lakes Park in White Bear Township. (MHM Photo / Jeff Wegge)

Hermantown senior captain Kade Kohanski injured his wrist in the second game of the season, leaving the end of his high school hockey career in jeopardy. But he returned to the ice a few games ago. During Saturday’s Hockey Day Minnesota game against Mahtomedi, it was Kohanski’s first game back without a wrist brace.

The result? Just a hat trick on Hockey Day. No biggie.

“He looked like himself today,” said Hermantown coach Patrick Andrews. “I think he’s back.”

Kohanski’s first goal in the second period against Mahtomedi, ranked No. 4 in Class 1A, put the Hawks up 3-1. He scored early in the third period for another two-goal lead before registering the hat trick with a power-play goal for a 5-3 lead.

Each time the Zephyrs got close, Kohanski made it that much tougher for the opponent in the battle of Class 1A powerhouses. In one afternoon, Kohanski doubled his season goal total.  

“Obviously a difference maker, and we haven’t had him,” Andrews said. “Your whole senior year, you’re watching 90% of it, and then you get to come out on a day like this and have a day. I was really happy for him.”

Being out injured was tough, Kohanski said, adding that you can’t get the time back and he’s trying to make up for it these past few games. Playing without the wrist brace, which Andrews said limited Kohanski’s mobility, came at the right time.

“It felt really good, and I could finally shoot a little bit,” Kohanski said. “Scored a couple goals, so it felt good.”

Kade Kohanski (MHM Photo / Jeff Wegge)

Something else that felt really good for Kohanski and his Hawks teammates, ranked No. 2 in Class 1A? Recording a 6-3 victory over Mahtomedi at Polar Lakes Park. Besides the hat trick from Kohanski, Hermantown’s line of the Kauppinen brothers and Wyatt Carlson scored the other three goals. Joshua Kauppinen put the Hawks up 1-0 only 3 minutes, 13 seconds into the game. Carlson added a late empty-netter, and Matthew Kauppinen scored his second goal of the season (to go with his 15 assists) for a 2-1 lead in the second period.

Since the 2015-16 season, Hermantown is now 8-1 against Mahtomedi, including 7-0 in the regular season. The one loss for the Hawks? The 2020 Class 1A state championship game for Mahtomedi’s first state title.

“They’re obviously a big rival for us,” Matthew Kauppinen said. “Especially when we lost to them in state 2020. It’s always a battle, and they’re a good team, so it’s always fun.”

It was pretty fun for the Kauppinen brothers to play together during such a fun, outdoor event like Hockey Day Minnesota. Both Matthew Kauppinen and coach Andrews talked about the honor of Hermantown being included in the festivities.

This is Hermantown’s second time participating in Hockey Day Minnesota. The town hosted the event in 2010, on a day with freezing rain and snow, a contrast to this year’s event with single-digit temperatures that felt below zero. Andrews was coaching bantams in Hermantown at the time, a group that became the shovel crew for Hockey Day, Andrews said.

The coach used the words “gratifying” and “humbled” to describe Hermantown being chosen to play on Hockey Day this year in White Bear Lake.

“It’s really cool to see how it’s grown in 13 years,” Andrews said. “This is pretty amazing. It’s super special to be a part of. We’re just so honored that they asked us to be a part of it, and to play Mahtomedi is a great treat, too.”

The current roster of Hermantown players were pretty young, though some remember that 2010 Hockey Day. Kohanski was only 5 in 2010 but remembers watching many Hockey Days on TV since then. Matthew Kauppinen recalls skating outside before the big high school game.

“It was an honor to be a part of it,” Matthew Kauppinen said, of the 2023 Hockey Day Minnesota. “And then yesterday, we had practice. We all had a lot of fun. And then to bring it today and win, it was super awesome.

“I’ll remember this for the rest of my life.”

Heather's love for watching hockey started when the Minnesota Wild came to town in 2000. Before that, she caught a few Minnesota Moose games as a youngster, and more recently she's kept up with the Austin Bruins and Fargo Force. She's a writer, freelance journalist and blogger who previously worked as a news reporter in Austin and Fergus Falls, Minn. She enjoys watching sports and closely follows the Wild, Minnesota Twins, IndyCar Series, tennis and prep sports. Heather keeps up her sports blog Thoughts from the Stands. You can follow her on Twitter/X @hlrule or Instagram @hlrule.

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