With the 2020-21 season still months out, it’s time to take a look at teams from all over the State of Hockey and examine what happened this past season and what’s ahead. The next team we’re breaking down is Hermantown.
How last season went
After being stunned in the Section 7AA final by Greenway in 2019, you had to believe the Hawks were beyond motivated to get back to St. Paul for the state tournament, especially with talent this squad had returning.
That ability led to a powerhouse of an offense as Hermantown averaged 5.56 goals per game. That output resulted in a nine-game win streak between Jan. 14 and Feb. 7. Among those wins, the Hawks defeated the likes of Wayzata, Mahtomedi, Greenway and Hill-Murray.
Hermantown finished the regular season with an 18-3-4 record and was the champion of the Lake Superior Conference.
The next challenge was the section tournament. That proved to be no challenge at all as the Hawks cruised to the section crown while outscoring their three opponents by a combined score of 26-1.
Hermantown earned the No. 3 seed in a Class 1A field that was very top-heavy. Following a 7-1 win against Monticello in the quarterfinals, the Hawks earned a date with defending state champion St. Cloud Cathedral. Hermantown ended the Crusaders’ hopes of a repeat as the Hawks rolled to a 6-2 victory.
It was on to the state championship game for Hermantown as it went up against Mahtomedi, a squad looking for its first state championship. The Zephyrs did just that as they won a hotly-contested game in overtime, 3-2.
Who’s back and who’s gone
At the top of the Hawks’ leading point-getter list are two graduated seniors who were dynamos. (47 goals, 48 assists) and Zach Kilen (27G, 45A) leave behind a heckuva legacy with their success at Hermantown. So too does goaltender Jacob Backstrom, who held things down in net with a 1.88 goals against average in 29 appearances.
There are three returners who will definitely be on the radar of opponents next season. It starts with Joey Pierce. He has a chance at being your 2021 Mr. Hockey winner following a 54-point campaign (16G, 39A) as a junior.
Ethan Lund (17G, 39A) and (12G, 23A) are the two key returners who appear ready to make some noise next season.
What to expect next season
Hermantown has become a force in the northern part of the state. Though some may argue this powerhouse should move up and compete with the big schools, the Hawks remain in Class 1A. They have some returning star power and have the reputation of annually reloading.