Warroad VS. Hermantown

5 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 15
Hermantown Ice Arena, Hermantown

Another week, another Game of the Century for Warroad.

Well, the Warriors’ showdown Saturday against Hermantown might not be once-in-a-hundred-years big. But the game against the Hawks, ranked No. 1 in Class 1A, in Hermantown certainly merits a heaping helping of hype.

Unbeaten Warroad’s surprisingly lopsided 5-0 victory over rival Roseau, ranked No. 4 in Class 2A, on Jan. 4 was last week’s Game of the Century. It was also the opening salvo in the No. 2-1A Warriors’ (14-0-0) dominant week. They followed that emotion-charged win with subsequent shutout victories over top Class 1A teams Fergus Falls (ranked No. 13) and Detroit Lakes (No. 11) on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Hermantown (10-1-0) knows a little something about beating top-ranked teams — large or small class. The Hawks have reeled off wins against traditional Class 2A powers Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Hill-Murray, Wayzata and Eden Prairie, all currently ranked in the top 14 in the state. They've also defeated No. 3-1A Mahtomedi, No. 5-1A Delano and No. 6-1A Duluth Denfeld.

OK, so we’ve established the teams’ resumes are brilliant. So, too, are their players. Warroad’s forward duo of senior Daimon Gardner and junior Jayson Shaugabay have scored a combined 84 points, and Gardner’s 27 goals rank third in the state. Warriors’ junior goaltender Hampton Slukynsky is riding a three-game shutout streak, giving him seven this season. His 1.06 goals-against average is the best in the state. 

Most of the Hawks' wins this season were accomplished without the services of Zam Plante, Hermantown's superstar junior forward who was injured in a Dec. 10 game against Wayzata. Plante has been practicing with the Hawks for the last two weeks and is expected to make his return to the lineup Friday night against St. Cloud Cathedral, according to Hawks coach Pat Andrews.

Hermantown gets plenty of offense from junior defenseman Ty Hanson (16 Points), who like Plante, is a Minnesota-Duluth commit.

Sophomore Max Plante (20 points), Zam’s younger brother, has also been an offensive force. Perhaps the biggest surprise for the Hawks has been the emergence of sophomore Dallas Vieau (8 goals) as one of the team’s top scoring threats.

Which team will win?
Legacy pick: Hermantown