Roll Cards, Roll.
That’s the unofficial rallying cry for Luverne, the far, far southwestern Minnesota program making its third state tournament appearance and first since 2017.
Roll, indeed. Luverne snapped longtime southern Minnesota kingpin New Ulm’s 62-game win streak against Big South conference foes with its 4-2 triumph in the Section 3A title game. The Cardinals (21-6-1) have won 11 straight and 15 out of their last 16 games.
The area of the state bordering South Dakota and Iowa generally isn’t considered hockey country. Yet Luverne has produced two of the state’s all-time great career scorers in Chaz Smedsrud (third with 357 points) and Jaxon Nelson (fifth with 290).
And now comes Brock Behrend, the senior who once scored seven goals in a single game and has a team-high 38 this season and 109 in his career.
“As far as skill and drive and raw talent, he is absolutely with them 100-percent of the way,” Luverne coach Phil Paquette said about Behrend’s place among the Smedruds and Nelsons of Cardinals lore.