WHITE BEAR LAKE - Senior forward Kade Kohanski, who has missed most of the season because of a broken wrist, appeared to be in ideal health and perfectly at home in the outdoor environment on Saturday as he scored three goals and added an assist to lead Hermantown to a 6-3 victory over Mahtomedi in a regionally televised Hockey Day Minnesota matchup at Polar Lakes Park.
“I could finally shoot a little bit, and I scored a few goals,” said Kohanski, playing in his sixth game since being cleared to return to action. “It felt really good.”
Kohanski scored in the section period to put the Hawks ahead 3-1 and added two goals in the third as No. 2-1A Hermantown (15-2-1) pulled away.
No. 3-1A Mahtomedi (11-5-0) came within 4-3 on a Seth Nelson goal with 7:31 remaining, but Kohankski answered 3:23 later with a power-play goal.
“He’s an obvious difference maker, and we haven’t had him,” Hermantown coach Pat Andrews said about Kohanski, who scored 62 points last season as a first-line mainstay. “It’s huge for us, but I’m super happy for him.
“Your whole senior year, you’re watching 90 percent of it and you get to return to something like this, and you have a day. I’m really happy for him.”
The three goals give Kohanski seven in eight games this season. He grew up, like the rest of the Hawks, playing on Hermantown’s array of seven immaculately manicured outdoor rinks.
“When we were younger, we skated a lot outside,” said Kohanski, who played two games to start the season before being knocked out of the lineup. “I think it really helped us today. We’re used to the harder ice and the sun. It’s a lot of fun to play out here too with all the fans watching us.”
Brothers Josh and Matt Kauppinen each had a goal and an assist for Hermantown.
Andrews said Hermantown’s deeply imbedded outdoor culture likely impacted the Hawks’ performance.
“I’d like to think so,” Andrews said. “That’s what we told the guys. They skate outside all the time, they still rink rat a ton … I think they are born to be here."