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Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato has one more hurdle to gain state

LITCHFIELD -- The Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato boys hockey team will try to reach the Class A state tournament for the second time in three years today.

In the way, just like in 2008, will be New Ulm.

In that Section 3A championship game, the Dragons prevailed, 3-1.

Today's section title tilt will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter.

This year, LDC hasn't had good luck against the Eagles, losing 9-2 at home and forging a 6-6 tie at New Ulm.

The 2008 Dragons entered the state tournament with a .500 record. This year, LDC is 14-9-1 and have a full goal advantage (4.42-3.42) over their opponents. Nate Adams leads the team with 24 goals, 22 assists and 46 points, with a plus-minus rating of 23. Andy Haataja is second on the team in points with 34 and Quinn Impola is third with 29. Eric Kivisto and Jeff Janckila follow with 25 points each, giving the Dragons a couple of lines with at least two 25-point players.

New Ulm (13-9-1) averages four goals per game and gives up just under three. Zach Fisher and Kaleb Juntunen lead the team with 15 goals and 13 assists for 28 points apiece. Brody Peterson has 27 points and is the Eagles' top goal scorer with 17.

The matchup in goal is fairly even. LDC goalie Bryce Johnson, who was a backup on the 2008 team, has two shutouts and an .889 save percentage. New Ulm goalie Blake Burgau also has two shutouts and an .894 save percentage.

The state Class A boys hockey tournament will be held March 11-13 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.