ST. PETER — Brock Behrend’s power-play goal 39 seconds into the second period held up as the game winner as No. 2 seed Luverne beat No. 3 seed Mankato East 6-2 on Monday in a Section 3A semifinal at Lund Arena on the Gustavus Adolphus Campus.
The goal was Behrend’s second of the game, and he completed his hat trick with 2:30 remaining with an empty-net goal. Luverne (20-6-1) scored four unanswered goals in the third period.
Behrend, a senior, leads Luverne with 38 goals, and he is the latest in a pantheon of great players to come out of the town of about 5,000 in the far southwestern corner of the state. Former Cardinals Chaz Smedsrud and Jaxon Nelson both rank among the state’s top 10 all-time career scorers.
Blaik Bork and Behrend, two-thirds of Luverne’s Killer B’s along with Brady Bork, scored first-period goals to give Luverne a 2-0 lead. Shae Gavin scored twice in the second period as Mankato East (11-16-0), the defending section champion, tied it at 2-2 through two periods.
Gavin took the penalty that led to Behrend’s power-play goal early in the third.
Brady Bork also scored a third-period goal.
Mankato East outshot Luverne 27-20. The Cardinals went 3-for-5 on the power play; Mankato East was 1-for-4.