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 Delano.
How last season went
The Tigers’ best strength last season was their defense as they allowed less than two goals per game. That defensive prowess opened many doors for Delano.
In the regular season, the Tigers started with consecutive wins. After that, Delano played at a lesser pace but got on a roll in the final stretch of the regular season. The Tigers rattled off nine consecutive wins to end the regular season. They finished with a 19-6 record and sat at third in the Wright County Conference.
Come postseason, Delano earned the No. 2 seed in Section 2A. The quarterfinals were no cake walk as the Tigers eked out a 3-2 win against Southwest Christian/Richfield. Then, Delano beat Breck in the semifinals.
In the section final, the Tigers faced an Armstrong/Cooper team that stunned the Class 1A world with an upset of Orono in the section semifinals. Delano had similar troubles as the game went into overtime. Eventually, the Tigers got the goal to break the tie and headed to the state tournament.
As the No. 5 seed in Class 1A, Delano faced a tough Mahtomedi team and could not keep up with the eventual state champions as the Tigers fell 5-2. In the consolation round, Delano found a familiar face in Hutchinson. The Tigers won a 6-5 barn-burner and eventually claimed fifth place with a 2-1 win against Monticello in the consolation final.
Who’s back and who’s gone
Delano did all of that with some leadership that is set to return next season. That included Adam Brown (24 goals, 19 assists), Gunnar Paulson (11G, 16A), Jesse Peterson (17G, 19A) and a solid defenseman returning in .
Michael Weber will surely be missed as he graduated. He poured in 32 points (13G, 19A) as a senior.
In net, Cade Lommel graduated as he moved on to play baseball at Creighton University. He posted a .910 save percentage in 25 games played. Colin Rowbotham did get some ice time in net and may be looked to as the regular starting netminder during the 2020-21 season.
What to expect next season
In recent years, there have been teams not normally talked about that make a run in the Class 1A tournament and capture the hearts of the hockey community. It seems like Delano could be that team in 2021. Don’t be surprised if the Tigers return to the state tournament and then make a run once they get there.