ST. PAUL — The cross-ice passes had been zipping back and forth across the neutral zone all afternoon. Finally, Charlie Drage had seen enough. So the Mahtomedi senior tossed on a football helmet and cleats and did his best defensive back impersonation.
Drage’s interception just outside the Mahtomedi blue line gave him the puck and nothing but a single Hawks defender and razor sharp goalie Dane Callaway to beat.
For Drage, not all that daunting of a task.
“I knew the puck was on the right player’s stick going into the zone,” Mahtomedi coach Jeff Poeschl said after Drage’s goal with 48.5 seconds left gave the No. 3 seed Zephyrs a 2-1 victory over No. 2 seed Hermantown, the defending state champion, on Friday in a state Class 1A semifinal at the Xcel Energy Center.
Drage’s thread-the-needle goal was something you might see in an old western movie. You know, the gunfighter shooting through two whiskey bottles and hitting the ace of spades just so. Drage’s shot sailed through the Hawks defender’s legs and over Callaway’s blocking glove.
Hermantown coach Pat Andrews estimated the opening was about, “this big,” he said, making a circle just slightly bigger than a puck with his hands.
“The kid made a hell of a play,” Andrews said. “I told him that in the handshake line.”
The goal was Drage’s team-leading 32nd of the season and 50th of his career. He scored 18 as a junior. Poeschl described Drage is something of a self-made scorer.
“This is a kid who had tons of chances as a sophomore and didn’t score a goal, didn’t score one,” Poeschl said, adding that Drage put in the work to improve his shot.
David Wolsfeld, Drage’s longtime friend, linemate and roommate for the week, had a good feeling about Drage scoring the winner. Wolsfeld offered some words of encouragement for his buddy after Drage was robbed of a goal by an outstretched Callaway.
“After he missed that backdoor tap-in, I saw him skate over to the corner and put his head down,” Wolsfeld said. “I just came over and gave him a pat on the back and said, ‘You’re going to get another chance and it’s going in.' ”
No. 2-1A Hermantown (26-3-1) outshot Mahtomedi, the 2020 state champion, 32-25. Charlie Brandt stopped 31 shots for the No. 3-1A Zephyrs (22-8-0). Callaway finished with 24 saves.
ST. PAUL — Charlie Drage scored with 48.5 seconds left to lift No. 3 seed Mahtomedi to a 2-1 victory over No. 2 seed Hermantown, the defending state champion, on Friday in a state Class 1A semifinal at the Xcel Energy Center.
Drage, a senior forward, intercepted a cross-ice pass in the neutral zone and raced in on Hermantown’s Dane Callaway, firing a shot through a Hawks' defender's legs that sailed high over Callaway's blocker. The goal was Drage’s team-leading 32nd of the season.
The teams played a scoreless second, but momentum swings were plentiful in the first period. A goal by No. 3-1A Mahtomedi (22-8-0) was nullified after video review showed the puck rung the right post and sailed under the crossbar and out to the left but never crossed the goal line during its flight.
Hermantown’s Dallas Vieau scored into an empty net on a one-timer just minutes after the no-goal call, putting the Hawks ahead 1-0. Mathomedi’s Jonny Grove scored just more than two minutes later to make it 1-1.
No. 2-1A Hermantown (26-3-1) Hermantown outshot Mahtomedi, the 2020 state champion, 32-25. Charlie Brandt stopped 31 shots for the Zephyrs. Callaway finished with 24 saves.
Mahtomedi’s Jonny Grove (9) ties the score at 1-1 with a goal late in the first period of Friday’s first state Class 1A semifinal at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Photo by Jeff Lawler, LegacyHockeyPhotography.com