Class 1A State Hockey: Little Falls knows who to stop in semifinals

Little Falls prepares for a rematch against Dodge County in the Class 1A state semifinals

Coltin Johnson (17) of Little Falls controls the puck near Jesse Peterson (11) of Delano during the Class A state quarterfinal game Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. (Clint Austin /

Little Falls’ opponent in the Class 1A state semifinals is a familiar one.

The fourth-seeded Flyers will take on Dodge County, who beat Little Falls 3-2 in a March 5 matchup in Little Falls. The semifinal will take place 1 p.m. Friday, April 2, at Xcel Energy Center.

Dodge County comes into the semifinals off its 7-3 win over top-seeded Hermantown.

Hermantown suffered a blow prior to the game when it was forced to play its junior varsity due to COVID-19 protocols.

Dodge County took full advantage behind Brody Lamb’s six goals to advance.


“My message was let’s just get through this,” Dodge County head coach Nick Worden said. “There was nothing great about that whole thing. It was a lose-lose situation. If you go beat them 12-0 that’s what you should do. If you lose you’re the laughing stock of the state.”

Lamb has put up big numbers all year and is committed to the University of Minnesota. Lamb recorded 82 points with 48 goals and 34 assists.

“He’s pretty electric anytime he touches the puck,” Worden said. “If he catches a defenseman flat-footed he can make him look silly pretty quickly.”

Against Little Falls earlier in the season, he tallied two goals and an assist.

“He’s a darn good player,” Little Falls head coach Tony Couture said. “We just have to try and reduce the time and space he has with the puck. If you give him a lot of time in space he’ll eat you up. Also, you can’t let him shoot. I know he likes to come up the boards and try to get to the front of the net and he skates well. So you just have to try and reduce his space and let him get in a small area.”

Lamb isn’t the only Dodge County player to worry about offensively as Matt Donovan has tallied 25 goals and 29 assists. Donovan’s 54 points would be a team-high if he played for Little Falls.

“Matt is one of the most underrated players in the state,” Worden said. “His hockey IQ is off the chart. He’s very slippery. He’s unbelievable and getting through things and seeing space really well.”

Other 20-point scorers for Dodge County are Easton Hammill, Charlie Blaisdell and Gavin Giesler.


Dodge County’s goalie is Isaac Dale who holds a save percentage of 88.

“I would say there is a comfort factor,” Worden said of playing Little Falls earlier in the season. “We are familiar with them and have a decent idea of their speed and how they play. I think it will be a really good matchup.”

The Flyers notched a 2-1 win over fifth-seeded Delano in the quarterfinals. It’s Little Falls' first time in the state semifinals since 2009.

Little Falls played the late quarterfinals game that did not get started until nearly 9 p.m. They drove back to Little Falls that night and had a light practice Wednesday.

“Practice was really good and they had some jump in them,” Tony Couture said. “We just got after it for about 18 minutes and did some conditioning. We’ve played this game before and it was a pretty even game.”

Tony Couture said he liked the way his team played for two of the three periods in the quarterfinals.

“We got the jitters out of us,” he said. “I thought we played an okay first period and third period, but very poor in the second. We just told our kids to be ready to go and there is going to be no surprises headed into Friday.”

Despite a win, the Flyers were still outshot 34-16 in the quarterfinals. A trend that Tony Couture hopes stops.


“We like our chances if we can get pucks to the net,” he said. “We’ve been doing drills that emphasize getting pucks to the net and we did that well.”

It helps to have a hot goaltender like Dane Couture in net for the Flyers. Dane Couture has only allowed three goals in four games since the playoffs started.

“Anytime you have a hot goaltender that can end at any time,” Tony Couture said. “You can also run into a hot goaltender at any time like we did against Fergus Falls in our section play. You just never know what you are going to get or how you are going to get it, but we definitely appreciate the way Dane has been playing.”

Class 1A state semifinals

Who: No. 4 seed Little Falls (13-4-1) vs. Dodge County (18-3-1)

When: 1 p.m.

Where: Xcel Energy Center


Earlier Meeting: Dodge County 3-2 win March 5.

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or Follow on Twitter at

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