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Defending champion Mahtomedi rallies to get past Orono

By Legacy Hockey staff, 03/06/24, 10:00PM CST


State Class 1A quarterfinal: Zephyrs overcome late deficit to beat the Spartans, advance to semis

Players from both teams scramble for possession of the puck during the first period of the Class 1A state quarterfinal game between Orono and Mahtomedi at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Photo by Jeff Lawler,

Quick Recap

Gene Wegleitner’s goal with 5:49 remaining held up as the winner as No. 4 seed Mahtomedi beat No. 5 seed Orono 5-2 in a state Class 1A quarterfinal at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Wegleitner pushed the puck forward on a face-off, retrieving it in time to beat Orono goaltender Peyton Anderson with a shot between his leg pads. 

Sam Harris and Jake Hodd-Chlebeck scored empty-net goals in the final minutes for the Zephyrs, the defending state Class 1A champion.

Hodd-Chlebeck scored with 6:07 left to pull Mahtomedi into a 2-2 tie. He fired a shot from an impossible angle, almost parallel to the end line, that banked in off the side of Orono goaltender Peyton Anderson.

Brooks Fegers' deflection of Joey Mugaas’ point shot put Orono ahead 2-1 with 8:31 left in the third period. The goal was waved off initially, with Fegers’ stick deemed too high. The play went to review and the ruling on the ice was overturned.

Max Strecker scored midway through the second to put Mahtomedi ahead 1-0. Orono answered just more than two minutes later with a power-play goal by Mugaas to tie it at 1-1.

No. 5-1A Mahtomedi (18-11-0) won the regular-season meeting between the teams 5-2 on Dec. 30 at Orono’s home rink in Long Lake.

Anderson made 24 saves No. 6-1A Orono (20-9-0). Mahtomedi’s Charlie Brandt made 26 saves.

Key Moment

Gene Wegleitner, who took one face-off all game, scored the wining goal with 5:49 remaining on a set play called Push. And push he did, chipping the puck forward on the face-off and making and outstanding individual effort to beat his defender and then Orono goaltender Peyton Anderson.

By the Numbers

0 - The opening period was the first period in the 2024 tournament that did not have a goal scored.

6 - Number of teams at the state tournament that Orono faced in the regular season. Alexandria, Mahtomedi, Northfield, St. Cloud Cathedral, Warroad and Chanhassen were on the Spartans' schedule this season.

Round 2 - Hermantown and Mahtomedi meet for the second-straight year in the semifinals.

They Said It

Gunnar was our biggest fan ever, and now he can’t come to any of our games. I think it’s awesome that our fans were showing support for him. They should let him come to our next game.

-- Mahtomedi goalie Jake Brandt on the Zephyrs' fans wearing "Free Gunnar" shirts in honor of Gunnar Sather, the superfan who  climbed over the glass and jumped onto the ice during the aftermath of Mahtomedi's state championship victory over Warroad last season and subsequently banned from attending games at the Xcel Energy Center

Mahtomedi’s Jake Hodd-Chlebeck fires a shot from near the goal line for a third period goal in the Zephyrs’ 5-2 victory over Orono. Photo by Jeff Lawler,

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