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LHS boys' hockey heads to state tournament

Lead Summary
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Greg Hoogeveen

The Luverne boys’ hockey players were crowned Section 3A Champions Wednesday, March 1, at the Lund Center in St. Peter to win a spot in the Minnesota Class A Boys’ State Hockey Tournament.
The Cardinals beat their nemesis, the New Ulm Eagles, 4-2, to move on to state quarterfinal competition against Hermantown at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul March 8. Game time is 11 a.m.
Luverne faced New Ulm twice in the regular season, losing both games.
In their first meeting on Dec. 9 in New Ulm, the Eagles beat the Cardinals 2-1. In the second game Jan. 26, the Eagles beat the Cardinals 4-1 in Luverne.
In the championship game March 8, Luverne came ready to play and avenge their two season losses to the Eagles.
“In both the semi-finals against Mankato East and the section championship against New Ulm our boys played disciplined and relentless games,” head coach Phil Paquette said.
“They did not play tight under pressure or when games got intense - they played unshakable hockey.”
The stage was set with the crowd in attendance heavily favoring New Ulm 3 to 1. The Luverne fans were not deterred and cheered on the Cardinals as if they were on home ice.
A minute and 59 seconds after the game puck dropped, senior Brady Bork scored the first goal assisted by junior Elliot Domagala and stunned the New Ulm team and crowd.
New Ulm tied the game at 13:41 in the first period and brought the Eagles crowd back into the game.
At the end of Period 1 the score was tied 1-1.
In the second period sophomore Blaik Bork beat the Eagles goalie on a power play assisted by junior Owen Sugenga and senior Brock Behrend.
The second period closed with Luverne ahead 2-1.
In the third period Blaik Bork scored once again on a power play at 1:10 assisted by Sudenga and Behrend.
At 3:32 in the third, New Ulm was able to get one past LHS goalie junior Tyler Arends to bring the Eagles one goal closer at 3-2.
The Cardinals did not back down, and goalie Arends blocked everything that came at him.
At 9:29 in the third period Elliot Domagala sealed Luverne’s win, beating the Eagles goalie one more time assisted by freshman Maddux Domagala.
The Cardinals beat the Eagles 4-2 to punch their ticket to state competition at the Xcel Energy Center Wednesday, March 8.
“Luverne has gotten stronger and more locked in throughout the season and that’s what it takes to win section championships and earn a trip to the Minnesota state high school hockey tournament,” Piquette said.
“We look ahead to the tourney as one of the greatest experiences a high school athlete can achieve.”
Piquette reflected on past tournaments, “Our draw against Hermantown is the third time in three trips to the state tournament.”
“In 2014 and 2017 Luverne competed and stood tall against one of the tournament favorites and we expect to do just that this time around - compete and leave it all at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.”

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