Play hard. Play fast. Take short shifts. Go, go, go.
“We keep the tempo hot and try to wear teams down,” Hermantown coach Pat Andrews said after an early-February win over Orono. “Lots of times teams can skate with us for a period, maybe even two, but at some point it usually breaks.”
Hermantown, long the state’s dominant small-school program, had another Hermantown-like season, going 25-2-1 and beating an array of top-ranked Class 2A and 1A teams.
But the defending Class 1A champion Hawks’ winning formula, usually reliant on a Mr. Hockey-caliber player or two, has been tweaked to account for the early departures of several upper-echelon standouts. Hermantown rolls three and sometimes four lines and plays at such a frenetic pace that, by the third period, opponents are left gasping for and grasping at air.
Still, the Hawks aren’t invincible. They had their 10-year, 103-game regular season unbeaten streak against small-school opponents snapped in a 3-1 loss to Warroad on Jan. 14.