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Warroad beats Mahtomedi in OT

Warroad boys hockey edges Mahtomedi in wild Class 1A rematch.

Warroad players celebrate on the ice. They defeated Mahtomedi in overtime in a rematch of last season's state title game. (MHM Photo / Jonathan Watkins)

STILLWATER — Warroad senior defenseman Ryan Lund and his veteran teammates received a mini taste of what they missed last March at Xcel Energy Center.

Lund scored the game-winning goal quickly after a faceoff against Mahtomedi in overtime for a 7-6 victory on Dec. 2, at the St. Croix Valley Recreation Center in Stillwater. It flipped the script of the teams’ last meeting on March 11 in the Class 1A state championship game when Mahtomedi won 6-5 in double overtime off of a faceoff with a play known as “lava cake.”

“I wanted it so bad. The rest of the team [did too] … there’s quite a few guys [here] who know how it feels to lose in the state championship,” Lund said. “We just did everything right off of the faceoff, ran play, and did everything right. Just amazing for the team and everybody.”

Senior forward Murray Marvin-Cordes set up Lund with the assist for the winning goal 3:38 into overtime. Warriors players crowded in celebration at the face-off circle as if they won much more than a regular season game.

Warroad (3-1), ranked No. 5 in Class 1A according to Let’s Play Hockey, and No. 3 Mahtomedi (1-3) came out flying as if it wasn’t a December game, too. The Zephyrs and Warriors traded goals in the first period amid three lead changes, but Mahtomedi came away with a 5-3 edge headed into the locker room.

Warroad senior Ryan Lund winds up for a shot. (MHM Photo / Jonathan Watkins)

“Especially that first period was just wide open. Not a lot of defense either way,” said Warroad coach Jay Hardwick. “I didn’t know if the whole game was going to be like that or if it was going to settle down because sometimes it does.

“But it was mostly wide open the whole game. Drives you nuts a little bit, but if you can play that way and come out on top, it’s alright.”

Lund led the rally with two goals in the second period on assists from Carson Pilgrim and Marvin-Cordes to tie things up at 5-5. Sophomore forward Dominic Anthony put the Warriors ahead 6-5, with the first assist to Lund. 

While Mahtomedi knotted it up 6-6 on senior forward Patrick Egan’s goal, the Zephyrs made a significant adjustment down the stretch. Junior goaltender Wes Strub subbed in for senior goalie Charlie Brandt, who saw 30 shots in less than two periods. Strub stopped 15 shots in 30 minutes, six seconds on the ice before Lund spoiled his outing.

“He gave up the goal at the end, but he made several key saves,” Mahtomedi coach Jeff Poeschl said about Strub. “It’s tough to come in, in the middle of a game. He made a lot of real good saves to keep us in it.”

Warroad and Mahtomedi piled on the shots with 91 combined, which didn’t quite match their output at the Xcel Energy Center last season. The skaters went wild at the “X” with 109 combined shots on goal in that game.

“We always have a good battle with Warroad whether it’s in the regular season or in a state tournament game,” Poeschl said.

Hardwick concurred about the seasoned Class 1A powerhouse rivalry.

“Every game we play Mahtomedi for the last three to four years, we’ve played very good hockey games, so they knew what they were getting into,” he said.

Warroad locked down the latest matchup with Mahtomedi with defense in the third period and a big penalty kill in overtime. Pilgrim’s late slashing minor in the third period didn’t stymie the Warriors going into the extra period on the road.

“It was an opportunity missed,” Poeschl said.

Mahtomedi goaltender Charlie Brandt faces a shot on goal. (MHM Photo / Jonathan Watkins)

Mahtomedi only got off two shots in the extra period while the Warriors took five shots on goal. That’s after the Zephyrs outshot the Warriors 12-5 in the third but to no avail.

“I told them before the third [period] that we need to go out and focus and … taking care of our end and eliminating their chances, and the offense will take care of itself,” Hardwick said. “And it’s kind of what happened.”

Warroad didn’t make a goalie change as senior Ben Norris stopped 39 shots with an .867 save percentage. He staved off 12 Mahtomedi shots in the third period alone.

“I didn’t think any of the goals he let in were bad goals,” Hardwick said about Norris. “It was more of the chances and opportunities for getting in. I hadn’t really thought about that because he made some really big saves for us, and I wasn’t about to pull him out. I thought he got better as the game went on and gave us a chance to win.”

Gallery: Warroad vs. Mahtomedi, Dec. 2, 2023.

Matthew Davis is an experienced Sports Reporter and has covered Olympic, professional, collegiate and high school athletes for various newspapers and websites. He won a North Dakota Newspaper Association sports reporting award in 2008. He has a degree in Mass Communication from North Dakota State University.

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