Hermantown Hawks Defend Class A State Hockey Title in 4-3 Double OT Thriller [PHOTOS]
After half a dozen years as the runner-up in the Class A Boys Hockey Tournament, the Hermantown Hawks are now back-to-back state champions. Defending their 2016 title wasn't easy for the Hawks, needing overtime in each of their three games in St. Paul. The last of those games was a marathon double-overtime match against Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake that included a Hermantown goal that was called off and led to a premature celebration. In the end, Hermantown's Dylan Samberg was able to break the tie seconds before the second overtime.
The game opened with the ice slanted heavily in favor of the Hawks. Hermantown outshot the M-A-ML Moose 15-1, but weren't able to capitalize on their chances. M-A-ML was able to come out of the gate in the second period with a big momentum shift, scoring twice in the first two minutes of the frame. Tyler Watkins cut the lead in half with a Hermantown goal just over a minute later, marking the last score of the period.
The Moose struck again in the opening seconds of the third period, extending their lead over the Hawks to 3-1 early. Jesse Jacques cut into the lead in the middle of the third, bringing the Hawks to back within one. Tyler Watkins found the net for the second time of the day at the 11:25 mark to tie the game, which would eventually force overtime.
The first overtime would end without a deciding goal, leading to a dramatic second overtime where a waved-off Tyler Watkins goal initially had both teams and the fans thinking they had seen the end of the match in favor of Hermantown. After review, the goal call was reversed due to contact with the goalie. With the clock ticking down, Dylan Samberg was able to break the tie for the Hawks 19.6 seconds away from what looked like a possible third overtime period.
The 4-3 double overtime win gives Hermantown their second straight Class A state title, and their third in team history (2007, 2016, 2017). The Hawks end their season with a 29-1-1 record, capped by their 8th straight Class A Championship Game appearance.