Mahtomedi wins Class A state title, ends Warroad's unbeaten season
Mahtomedi's Jonny Grove scored on a rebound 4 minutes, 56 seconds into double overtime to give the Zephyrs their second state championship in four years.
ST. PAUL — The Zephyrs ran a play called "lava cake" off the faceoff.
It ended sweetly for Mahtomedi and burned Warroad.
Mahtomedi's Jonny Grove collected a rebound in front and acrobatically scored 4 minutes, 56 seconds into double overtime to end an instant classic and give the Zephyrs their second state championship in four years with a 6-5 victory.
STATE CHAMPS!! @ZephyrsBoysPuck pic.twitter.com/B0Ww9kv3uX— The Rink Live (@TheRinkLive) March 11, 2023
The Zephyrs beat top-seeded Warroad and second-seeded Hermantown in the final two games of the season.
"When the dust settles and the gloves and sticks and helmets get back to their owners, that will make this championship even that much more sweeter," Mahtomedi coach Jeff Poeschl said.
Warroad's Carson Pilgrim and Mahtomedi's Charlie Drage each had hat tricks, with Drage's dramatic third goal forcing overtime.
Trailing 5-3 with 9:52 left in regulation, the Zephyrs would not go away.
"If you look at our past two games, we were down to Hermantown and down to Warroad," Drage said. "I think that's just us having trust in each other."
Drage scored on a loose puck in front to get back within one, then beat Warroad goalie Hampton Slukynsky with a wrister in the final two minutes of the third period to send the Zephyr faithful into hysterics and the game into OT.
The senior forward came to the postgame press conference with a chipped front tooth — a result of Mahtomedi's postgame celebrations.
"You can replace teeth," Drage said. "You can't replace this moment."
It's the second straight title game loss for Warroad and the Warriors' only defeat of the season. It was also the first time Warroad has given up more than four goals this year.
The Zephyrs kept Warroad's vaunted top line in check for the first 13 minutes of the game. Then, the inevitable with 2:47 left in the first period.
After giving Jayson Shaugabay, Carson Pilgrim and Murray Marvin-Cordes no space, Mahtomedi's defense relaxed for a moment.
Pilgrim got the puck from Marvin-Cordes in open ice and fired in his 50th goal of the season.
Mahtomedi forward David Wolsfeld got the assignment to shadow Shaugabay, keeping the Mr. Hockey finalist off the scoresheet except for an assist in the third. With that focus on Shaugabay came pockets of extra time and space for Pilgrim and Marvin-Cordes.
"I think he's probably the runaway favorite for Mr. Hockey," Wolsfeld said. "I've had to shadow a few other really good players this year like [Cretin-Derham Hall's] Jake Fisher and [St. Thomas Academy's] Tommy Cronin, so I think that probably prepared me for it."
"He takes about four or five-minute shifts, so that was pretty tough," Wolsfeld said.
Pilgrim added a 51st and 52nd goal of the year for his second hat trick of the tournament. Marvin-Cordes tacked on his 25th of the year in the second period.
Warroad coach Jay Hardwick was unhappy with the game's officiating, feeling that the physical focus on Shaugabay and company went over the line and the Zephyrs were not called for enough penalties. Mahtomedi took one minor penalty in the game.
"[The officials'] explanation is that they don't want to influence the game," Hardwick said. "Well, by not calling stuff like that they are influencing the game."
Peyton Sunderland, who had zero goals this season before the state tournament, scored his second in as many nights to give Warroad a two-goal lead with 9:52 left in the game.
But the Zephyrs didn't give in.
FIRST PERIOD: 1, WAR, Pilgrim (Marvin-Cordes, Lund), 14:13. 2, MAHT, Haycraft (Nelson, Bruner), 16:08.
SECOND PERIOD: 3, WAR, Pilgrim (Marvin-Cordes, Lund), 5:08. 4, WAR, Marvin-Cordes (Pilgrim), 7:25. 5, MAHT, Egan (Hodd-Chlebeck), 15:39.
THIRD PERIOD: 6, WAR, Pilgrim (Shaugabay, Hontvet), 3:58. 7, MAHT, Drage (Bruner, Wolsfeld), 4:36. 8, WAR, Sunderland (Comstock, Hennum), 7:08. 9, MAHT, Drage (Bruner), 11:00. 10, MAHT, Drage (Nelson, Bruner), 15:40.
OT: No scoring
2OT: 11, MAHT, Grove (Nelson), 4:56.
SHOTS: MAHT, 12-6-18-7-3—46. WAR, 15-13-11-8-4—51.
SAVES: MAHT, Brandt (14-11-9-8-4—46). WAR, Slukynsky (11-5-15-7-2—40)