Hermantown boy’s hockey coach Patrick Andrews was pleased with his team’s 6-1 home victory against Denfeld last night.
Juniors Wyatt Carlson and George Peterson scored two goals each for the Hawks, and junior Kade Kohanski had five assists. And, ultra-explosive sophomore forward Max Plante added a goal and three assists.
Sophomore goaltender Dane Callaway stopped 18 of 19 shots, while lowering his goals-against average to 1.17 and collecting his fifth win in six starts.
The Class 1A, No. 1-ranked Hawks improved to 9-1 overall and 2-0 in the Lake Superior Conference.
“Denfeld came out hard and we started a little nervous there in the first period, when they jumped out to the 1-0 lead,” said Andrews. “We made some adjustments after the first period, tightened up our neutral zone gaps which slowed them down, I think. I was happy with our response, especially in the third period.”
The Hawks led 3-1 after one period and out-shot the Hunters 43-19 overall, including 15-6 in a dominating third period.
“I really liked our third period, when we played with great energy, didn’t give our opponent anything and took care of business,” Andrews said.
The Hawks game was likely a preview of a Section 7A championship matchup between the teams later this season.
Perhaps most impressively, Hermantown made it a rout without its best player, ultra-elite junior forward Zam Plante, sidelined with a shoulder injury for the seventh consecutive game.
“Our kids knew it was an important game,” said Andrews. “We have a lot of young guys playing in big spots. It was good for us to take another step forward. Our young guys, in particular, matured a bunch last night.”
Andrews said Beau Janzig and Gavin Blomdahl provided excellent veteran leadership, showing the whiskerless Hawks the way.
Hermantown will host Eden Prairie (6-5) on Saturday at 3:15 p.m.
“EP plays really fast and heavy and will be a good test for us,” said Andrews. “It will be a very physical game and will make us better.”
Andrews, on the 2021-22 Hawks’ season at this point: “We’re happy where we’re at, in all areas. It’s always an adventure to figure out what you have, and we’re making progress and trying to get better every.”
Zam Plante could return to the lineup at St. Cloud Cathedral on Friday, Jan. 14, Andrews said.
. Hawks’ must-watch remaining home games: Saturday vs. 2A Eden Prairie, Jan. 15 vs. 1A/No. 2 Warroad (12-0-0), Jan. 28 against 2A Maple Grove (7-3-1) and 2A St. Thomas Academy (6-5-0).