ST. PAUL - Hermantown’s Aaron Evjen is on one of those once-in-a-lifetime, touch-and-turn-to-gold streaks that demands a trip to Las Vegas (only for those of gambling age, of course). Or, at the very least, the purchase of a couple scratch-offs from the local mini mart.
Evjen’s heater includes five goals in his last four games, all playoff victories for the Hawks. He scored the first goal, officially marked as the winner, in No. 1 seed Hermantown’s 6-0 victory over unseeded Luverne (21-7-1) on Wednesday in a state Class 1A quarterfinal at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Not bad for a guy who scored all of four goals in the regular season.
Evejen, a senior who plays on No. 2-1A Hermantown’s unheralded Orange Line, is so new to the spotlight that Hawks coach Pat Andrews introduced Evjan (EV-ee-an) in slow, phonetic fashion during Wednesday’s postgame media session.
“Aaron got us started gain,” Andrews said about Evjen, who scored twice in Hermantown’s 3-2 Section 7A semifinal victory over Hibbing/Chisholm. “He’s the hottest guy on the team.”
Evjen’s goal was a mucker-and-grinder special. He planted himself next to the right goalpost, ignored the traffic on all sides, and swatted at a bouncing puck until it went in. Golden touch, indeed.
“It’s an amazing feeling to come through for my team when they need me,” Evjen said. “I gotta give credit to my linemates, Sam Swenson and Mason Sundbom. They make great plays for me and I just bury it.”
Evjen is one of dozens of Hermantown players who, over the years, have played multiple seasons on the Hawks’ junior varsity with the hope — no guarantees are given — of one day tossing on that varsity jersey.
“Aaron is a huge part of what we do,” Andrews said. “He’s Hermantown hockey through and through. His family is from Hermantown. He’s as blue-and-gold as they get.”
The heavily favored Hawks (26-2-1), the defending state champions making their 17th state tournament appearance, didn’t have a shot on goal for the first 5:43. Evjen’s whack-a-mole goal ignited a flurry of three in 71 seconds.
“To see those three goals go in within a minute in the first period, that can break a lot of teams,” Luverne coach Phil Paquette said. “I’m very proud of the way this team hung with it.”
“They definitely shot harder, faster,” Cardinals goaltender Tyler Arends said. “They are a little different than the teams we normally face.”
ST. PAUL - No. 1 seed Hermantown scored twice in a 30-second span in the first period as it cruised to a 6-0 victory over unseeded Luverne on Wednesday in a state Class 1A tournament quarterfinal at the Xcel Energy Center.
Freshman River Freeman slid behind the Luverne defense and scored off a feed from Kade Kohanski 7:09 into the opening period to put No. 1-1A Hermantown (26-2-1), the defending state champion, ahead 2-0. Evan Gunderson followed to make it 3-0 with an unassisted goal, as his high feed from behind the net was ruled to have ricocheted in off a Luverne defender.
Luverne (22-6-1) standout Brock Behrend had the best scoring opportunity in a scoreless second period. He broke in alone on Hermantown goaltender Dane Callaway, who made the stop to keep the Cardinals scoreless.
Dallas Vieau and George Peterson scored less than a minute apart late in the third period to complete the scoring for Hermantown.
The Hawks outshot Luverne 49-13.