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Boys hockey: Tigers tame Litchfield/D-C Dragons for a third time

Hutchinson powers by Litchfield/D-C in Section 3A final, 8-1

022720.S.WCT.LDC BHockey Cade Marquardt.JPG
Hutchinson junior defender Tristan Hoppe beats Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato senior goaltender Cade Marquardt with a backhand during Wednesday's Section 3A Final from the Don Roberts Ice Rink at the Lund Arena on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. Patrick Bernadeau / West Central Tribune.

ST. PETER — During the regular season, the Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato boys hockey team dropped a pair of closely contested games to Hutchinson.

In their third meeting of the season with significantly higher stakes, the Dragons were still unable to solve the Tigers.

The Dragons and their efforts for a third appearance at state over the last five years were dashed Wednesday. They lost 8-1 to Hutchinson in the Section 3A final from the Don Roberts Ice Rink at the Lund Arena on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College.

“(Hutchinson) is a good team and you've got to give them credit,” Dragons head coach Brice Berggren said. “They beat us three times this year. They were just kind of relentless tonight.”

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Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato senior forward Jake Johnson and Hutchinson senior forward Hayden Jensen take the faceoff during Wednesday's Section 3A Final from the Don Roberts Ice Rink at the Lund Arena on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. Patrick Bernadeau / West Central Tribune.

Outshooting its opponent 39-24, top-seeded Hutchinson earned its first Class A state berth since 2009.

“Making it to the state tournament, that’s an honor,” Tigers head coach Matt Telecky said. “The state tournament, it's one of the greatest things. That’s been a goal for these kids since day one, and they keep working and getting after it.”

While it featured the least amount of goals, the second period was arguably the difference-maker.

Entering the period, shots were tied 14-14. By the end of it, Hutchinson took command, bumping its advantage to 26-14.

The Dragons had their best chances after going on a power play near the 11-minute mark of the second.

Early in the 5-on-4, senior defenseman Cole Evjen received a centering pass near the crease, but was stopped by after a terrific save from Austin Hagen. The junior goaltender came up huge when he halted a strong rush from senior center Jake Johnson.

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Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato senior defenseman Terrell Grangroth chases after the puck and Hutchinson junior defenseman Alex Staples during Wednesday's Section 3A Final from the Don Roberts Ice Rink at the Lund Arena on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. Patrick Bernadeau / West Central Tribune.

As the power play came to an end, Tristan Hoppe, who served an interference penalty, exited the box. All alone in the neutral zone, Hoppe took a pass from Gavin Hutchins and finished the breakaway with a backhand past LDC senior netminder Cade Marquardt to put Hutchinson up 2-1.

“We battled through the first; we were pretty even with them,” Berggren said. “They had the momentum at the end of the second going into the third.”

Just 63 seconds into the third, senior forward Blake Schmidt made it 3-1. Standing behind the net, he faked to Marquardt's right and tucked by the goalie’s left side on the wrap. Less than two minutes later, senior forward Logan Holtz banged in a loose puck as part of a six-goal period from the Tigers.

“They kept a strong forecheck on us all night,” Berggren remarked. “They were just relentless. That pressure eventually paid off for them. I guess that was the huge difference.”

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Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato sophomore winger Zack Zwilling and Hutchinson junior defender Cam Longie fights for the puck during Wednesday's Section 3A Final from the Don Roberts Ice Rink at the Lund Arena on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. Patrick Bernadeau / West Central Tribune.

Senior forward Hayden Jensen added two goals. Sophomore center Brady Knorr and senior forward Austin Jozwick each had a score during the 17-minute onslaught. Jozwick opened the scoring with a rebound off a LDC turnover in the defensive zone. The Dragons responded nearly nine minutes later.

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Following a face-off in the offensive zone, the puck bounced off the boards and back toward the slot. Sophomore winger Gavin Hanson rocketed a wrister by Hagen for the equalizer at 1-1.

However, the No. 2 Dragons could only muster 10 shots after the first period.

Hagen finished with 23 saves in the victory. Marquardt stopped 31 shots for LDC, which finished the season with a 12-15-1 record.

“I’m proud of the way that we played and the season that we had,” Berggren said. “We made it this far. You never want it to end whether you end now or you end a week from now.”

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The Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato student section cheers as the boys hockey team skates onto the ice for the start of the second period of Wednesday's Section 3A Final against Hutchinson from the Don Roberts Ice Rink at the Lund Arena on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. Patrick Bernadeau / West Central Tribune.

Section 3A Final
Hutchinson 8,
Litchfield/D-C 1

Litchfield/D-C (12-15-1) 1 0 0 — 1
Hutchinson (19-8-1) 1 1 6 — 6
FIRST PERIOD – (1) H: Austin Jozwick (Hayden Jensen), 4:51 ... (2) L: Gavin Hanson (Gavyn Lund), 13:40.
SECOND PERIOD – (3) H: Tristan Hoppe (Gavin Hutchins), 13:00
THIRD PERIOD – (4) H: Blake Schmidt (unassisted), 1:03 ... (5) H: Logan Holtz (Riley Anderson), 2:44 ... (6) H: Hayden Jensen (Anderson), 7:13 ... (7) H: Jensen (unassisted), 10:44 ... (8) H: Jozwick (Jensen, Cam Longie), 11:04, PP ... (9) H: Brady Knorr (Anderson, Ty Glaser), 14:32
GOALIE SAVES/SHOTS – Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato: Cade Marquardt 31/39 … Hutchinson: Austin Hagen 23/24

022720.S.WCT.LDC BHockey Alex Heinonen.JPG
Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato senior winger Alex Heinonen bows his head as the National Anthem plays prior to Wednesday's Section 3A Final against Hutchinson from the Don Roberts Ice Rink at the Lund Arena on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. Patrick Bernadeau / West Central Tribune.

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