Ninth-year Northfield coach Mike Luckraft thought he had prepared for any and every circumstance his Raiders might encounter in the Section 1A championship game against New Prague.
“Leading by six goals in the third period wasn’t one of those scenarios,” he said.
Northfield’s 6-0 section final triumph over New Prague, the team that ousted the Raiders from the section tournament last year, shouldn’t come as a complete shock. The win ex- tends what has been something of a dream season for a fully loaded Raiders squad.
Ranked in the top six in Class 1A for most of the season, Northfield (23-5-0) has lost just once since mid-January and enters the state tournament — the second state appearance in program history — riding an eight-game win streak.
Stingy defense and stellar goaltending have been Northfield’s signature strengths, although the offense has plenty of firepower, too. The Raiders’ shutout win over New Prague was their 10th of the season, and the team’s 1.46 goals-against average is third in Class 1A behind tourney favorites Warroad (1.25) and Hermantown (1.43).