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Class 1A Boys Hockey: Alexandria stuns 2-time defending state champion Hermantown

ST. PAUL--The No. 4-seeded Alexandria Cardinals upset the top-seeded Hermantown Hawks with a 6-1 victory in the Class 1A boys hockey state semifinals at Xcel Energy Center Friday.

ST. PAUL-The No. 4-seeded Alexandria Cardinals upset the top-seeded Hermantown Hawks with a 6-1 victory in the Class 1A boys hockey state semifinals at Xcel Energy Center Friday.

The Cardinals (19-10-1) advance to the state championship for the first time in program history and will face No. 3 Orono at noon Saturday. The state title ensures that 1A will crown a first-time state champion. Orono will be also be attempting to win its first championship.

Hermantown (21-7-2) will play No. 2 Mahtomedi in the third-place game Saturday.

The two-time defending 1A champion Hawks end their streak of eight consecutive appearances in the state championship game. They scored first Friday, in the ninth minute, on a goal by Justin Thomas.

Alexandria stormed back, tying the game at 10:44 of the first period on a power-play goal by senior defenseman Jack Powell, setting off a run of six consecutive goals. Sophomore forward Caleb Strong put in the game winner for a 2-1 lead.

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The Powell and Strong duo had a big state semifinal performance as Powell secured the hat trick as part of four-goal third period including a pair of empty netters in the final 2.5 minutes

Strong assisted on two of Powell's three goals and Powell assisted on Strong's goal as Strong finished with three points and Powell with four.
Three other players had a pair of assists for the Cardinals-Ben Doherty, Shane Birkeland and Jakob Stender.

While Powell and Strong had big offensive outputs for Alexandria, it was senior goalie Jackson Boline who stood strong in the net. Boline saved 33 shots including 17 in the second period and 12 more in the third.

Orono 5, Mahtomedi 4

ST. PAUL-No. 3 Orono survived a four goal comeback by No. 2 Mahtomedi, defeating the Zephyrs 5-4 in overtime Friday in the Class 1A boys hockey semifinals at Xcel Energy Center.

In their ninth state tournament appearance, the Orono Spartans (22-7-1) will play for their first state championship, reaching the title game for the second time in program history at noon Saturday, March 10. Mahtomedi will play in the third-place game at 3M Arena at Mariucci at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Orono built a 4-0 lead in the 14th minute of the second period when senior forward Thomas Walker netted a hat trick for the Spartans, who managed to navigate a four goal lead despite being outshot throughout the contest.

Mahtomedi wasted no time in its comeback attempt, scoring four goals in a 5:18 stretch beginning just 27 seconds after the Walker hat trick goal and culminating with a tie game in the third minute of the third period with just under 15 minutes remaining.

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From there, the teams played scoreless hockey the rest of regulation despite each team going on a power play in the closing seven minutes.

Senior forward Dane Korsi was credited with the game winner on a puck that bounced around in the air in front of the net, ultimately slipping through the crease.

Joining Walker with a three-point performance for Orono was junior defenseman Daniel Eckerline with a goal and two assists while senior forward Davey Burns and sophomore forward Lucas Jorgenson each had a pair of assists.

Mahtomedi fired 42 shots on goal compared to 28 for Orono.

Four different Zephyrs scored with junior forward Kory Pilarski putting in a goal and assisting on the game tying fourth Mahtomedi goal.

Orono senior goalie Evan Babekuhl registered 42 saves, saving at least 10 shots each period.

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