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Lava cake, chipped teeth all part of the mayhem for Mahtomedi

By Loren Nelson, Legacy Hockey, 03/11/23, 3:15PM CST


Zephyrs' victory over Warroad in state Class 1A championship game filled with wacky moments

Charlie Drage (11) celebrates in front of the Mahtomedi student section following the Zephyrs’ 6-5 double-overtime victory over Warroad in the state Class 1A championship game. Photo by Jeff Lawler, LegacyHockeyPhotography

ST. PAUL — They call the play Lava Cake.

Win the face-off, go to the net, pop home a rebound. Simple as 1-2-3.

Well, maybe not quite that simple. Jonny Grove had to double as a Cirque du Soleil performer to pull off the stunt, diving over Warroad goaltender Hampton Slukynsky while sweeping the puck into the net.

Grove’s Lava Cake special came in double overtime and lifted No. 3 seed Mahtomedi past No. 1 seed Warroad 6-5 on Saturday in a mayhem-filled state Class 2A championship game at the Xcel Energy Center.

Dueling hat tricks, disputed calls, chipped teeth and a supercharged student successfully scaling the glass were all part of one of the highest-scoring championship games in state history.

Warroad’s Carson Pilgrim and Mahtomedi’s Charlie Drage exchanged hat tricks, and it was Drage who forced overtime with 1:20 left in regulation with his third goal. Earlier in the third, Drage had a goal disallowed because of goaltender interference. 

After the no-goal call, Drage emphatically waved his arm and pointed at the net after his second goal, just as the officials do after a goal. Mahtomedi coach Jeff Poeschl made the same motion when watching the replay on the scoreboard of the waved-off goal.

Warroad coach Jay Hardwick wasn’t thrilled with the officials either.

“Our defenseman is coming around the net and they got him in an arm bar,” Hardwick said after No. 1-1A Warroad was denied in its bid for an undefeated season. “And their explanation is, ‘Well we don’t want to influence the game.’ Well, by not calling stuff like that, they are influencing the game.”

No. 3-1A Mahtomedi (23-8-0), which upended No. 2-1A Hermantown, last year’s state champion, in Friday’s semifinals just might have established itself as the state's preeminent small-school program. Saturday’s win over Warroad (29-1-1) gives the Zephyrs their second title in four tournaments.

The postgame celebration was high-level, too. At least in terms of over-the-top zaniness. Literally, over the top. A Mahtomedi student decked out in Zephyrs yellow shorts, a sleeveless T-shirt and a shiny gold hockey helmet scaled the Xcel glass and jumped down onto the ice with the players below. And was later escorted from the building.

“I was just hugging everyone and all of a sudden I see my friend right there,” Mahtomedi goalie Charlie Brandt said. “I’m like, ‘How did he get there?’ ”

Mahtomedi pulled Brandt in favor of an extra skater when Drage forced overtime with his tying goal. Drage, who finished with five goals among his eight points in the tournament, arrived at the postgame media session with two freshly chipped front teeth.

“I went in (the postgame celebration) first and then 26 (Carson Marshall) came in and bodied me into the boards,” Drage said. “I tasted something weird in my mouth and said, ‘That’s not normal.’ ”

Marshall’s name, or rather his number, was mentioned a couple of times in postgame interviews. Poeschl was trying to explain how the Lava Cake nickname came about when Drage said: “Number 26 Carson Marshall, that’s his favorite dessert.”

As for his tooth issues, Drage didn’t seem upset by his new look. He was hamming it up for the cameras in the postgame awards ceremony and ear-to-ear smiling while seated in front of the media.

“You can replace teeth,” he said. “You can’t replace this moment.”

Mahtomedi’s Jonny Grove tucks the puck around Warroad goalie Hampton Slukynsky for the game-winning goal in double overtime. The Zephyrs defeated the Warriors 6-5 to claim the state Class 1A championship. Photo by Jeff Lawler,

Quick Recap

ST. PAUL - Jonny Grove scored 4:56 into double overtime to lift No. 3 seed Mahtomedi past No. 1 seed Warroad 6-5 Saturday in the state Class 1A championship game, dashing the Warriors’ bid for an undefeated season.

Grove gathered a rebound just in front of Warroad goaltender Hampton Slukynsky, then dove as he wrapped the puck around the sprawling goaltender.  

Charlie Drage forced overtime with 1:20 left in regulation with his third goal of the game. He fired a shot from the top of the right face-off circle high over Slukynsky’s left shoulder. The goal was Drage’s third of third period and 34th of the season.

Junior forward Carson Pilgrim scored three goals, surpassing the 50 mark for the season. Pilgrim scored a goal in each period, all on precise, rocket shots. 

But it was Peyton Sunderland’s grinding, hard-working goal in the third that, for a time, looked like it would be the winner. Sunderland, with a defender draped on his back, scored off a feed from defenseman Erick Comstock to put the No. 1-1A Warroprs (29-1-1) ahead 5-3 with 9:52 left in regulation.

Warroad led 3-1 midway through the second period on a goal by Murray Marvin-Cordes.

Slukynsky finished with 40 saves. Mahtomedi's Charlie Brandt had 46.

The game matched last year’s Class 2A championship, won 6-5 by Andover, as the highest-scoring in tournament history.

Carter Haycraft and Patrick Egan also scored for the No. 3-1A Zephyrs (22-9-0). The state title is the second for Mahtomedi, which beat Hermantown 3-2 in overtime for the 2020 title.

Warroad’s Carson Pilgrim (18) netted a hat trick, and added an assist, for the Warriors in their 6-5 double overtime loss to Mahtomedi in the Class 1A State Championship game. Photo by Jeff Lawler,

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