Dylan Halliwill might skip the OJ with breakfast the next few days, just say no to Cheetos for a while and definitely take a hard pass on the sweet potatoes.
He’s had about all the color orange he can stomach.
Blaze-orange clad Delano came at Halliwill in waves on Tuesday in Breck’s 4-3 triumph at Anderson Ice Arena in Golden Valley. Among the senior’s 14 third-period saves were back-to-back breakaway stops in the closing minutes on Jesse Peterson and Adam Brown, the Tigers’ top two forwards.
“We shouldn’t have given up the breakaways at the end, but we did and he kept us in it,” Breck coach Glen Lang said about Halliwill, who was Holy Family’s top goaltender last season. “He definitely came up big for us tonight.”
When the Tigers weren’t zooming in alone on Hallliwill, they were making his life difficult in other ways. They crashed the crease with regularity, sometimes knocking the net off its moorings and Halliwill of his feet. Multi-player screens were set up in front of the 5-foot-10, 165-pound goalie, forcing him to peer around stacks of players just to draw a bead on the puck.
Halliwill, who has been sharing time in goal with junior Jack Thomson, said he would have preferred a less stressful third period. “But we got the win, so it’s all good,” he said after making 42 saves and leveling his record at 1-1-0.
Deploying an unorthodox, scrambling style compared to most of today’s 6-foot-plus goaltenders who perfect their angles and limit their movements, Halliwill spent a lot of time dropping to the ice as shots were unloaded and then, just as quickly, popping back up after making the save.
“I think he is like an old-school ’tendy,” Breck senior Beau Courneya said about Halliwill. “He likes to play really aggressive.”
Courneya and Halliwill grew up playing in the Mound Westonka youth system. Breck’s top goal scorer, Courneya said he was thrilled to welcome his old buddy to the Mustangs (3-2-0), ranked No. 20 in Class 1A.
“He’s a perfect addition to our team,” Courneya said. “Great goalie, great leader. He showed that on the ice.”
After the game Halliwill skated to center ice, took a knee and flipped up his facemask. He spent a couple minutes of quiet reflection before joining his teammates in a raucous locker room, where the Mustangs presented their Player of the Game award, a hard hat, to Halliwill then chanted, “Speech! Speech! Speech!”
The Section 2A title game has included either Breck or Delano since since 2008. The Mustangs made 11 straight section championship game appearances from 2008 to 2018; Delano has appeared in six of the last eight. The teams met for the title three straight years from 2015-17, with Breck winning two of the meetings.
No. 13-1A Delano, the two-time defending section champion and preseason favorite this season, dropped to 2-5-0 with the loss. The Tigers have suffered four straight one-goal setbacks.
“We kind of thought we might be a favorite going into the season, with Delano, but it’s wide open right now,” Lang said. “We played Minneapolis. They’re tough. Orono looks really good. Armstrong looks like they are going to be a contender again. Southwest Christian … everyone looks good.”
Halliwill’s performance against the Tigers only solidifies what Lang sees as a team strength.
“We know we have two good goalies,” he said. “That’s the key to our team right now.”