The Frank Brimsek award has been awarded to the top senior goaltender in Minnesota boys high school annually since 1995. Frank Brimsek a.k.a “Mr. Zero” was born in 1915 and played for Eveleth High School and St. Cloud State Teachers College as a goaltender and could be deemed one of the greatest goaltenders from Minnesota in history. Brimsek played 10 seasons in the National Hockey League with the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks and collected the Calder Memorial Trophy as a rookie and two Vezina trophies during his career. Brimsek was also named to the NHL All-Star Team eight times during his impressive NHL tenure. This years Frank Brimsek award was awarded to Mahtomedi’swho had an impressive high school career between the pipes himself. The other two finalists included of Cretin-Derham Hall and of Andover. We are going to highlight Dardis’ outstanding career in this article which spanned 4 seasons and included 1 state championship.
Freshman – 2018-2019
played a lot of minutes between the pipes for Mahtomedi in each of his four seasons, including in his freshman campaign. He went 10-4-1 with a Goals Against Average of 1.70 and Save Percentage of .923 in 750 minutes played during the regular season in 2018-2019. Dardis did end up splitting most of the games with senior goaltender John Poirer during the season, but played in the section semifinals and finals en route to a state tournament berth. Dardis also started the first two games at the state tournament and almost made the championship game, but the Zephyrs fell in a heartbreaker to Greenway. However, Dardis and Mahtomedi finished 3rd in the state for Class A after a 7-3 victory over East Grand Forks in the 3rd place game. Right from the get-go, was a top goaltender in Minnesota and he continued that throughout his career.
Sophomore – 2019-2020
Dardis’ sophomore season was a special one for him. After playing a little over half the games in his freshman season, Dardis was tabbed as the fulltime starting goaltender for Mahtomedi in 2019-2020. He had another impressive stat line in the regular season, including a record of 17-8 and 6 shutouts. This season brought another state tournament trip for Mahtomedi as they cruised through the section playoffs and even the first two games at the state tournament. The Zephyrs were finally in the state championship game and had to face a very potent team in #2 Hermantown. Dardis made 47 saves on 50 shots in the first two games and had his work cut out for him vs the Hawks. Once again, Dardis came up big stopping 40 of 42 shots in an overtime state championship victory, Mahtomedi’s first in school history. That game was a defining moment for Dardis in his high school career.
Junior – 2020-2021
2020-2021 brought the shortened season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Dardis missed the state tournament for the first time in his high school career. Dardis had another great season when it came to stats, touting a GAA of 2.37 and SV% .926. The Zephyrs made the Section 4A Championship once again during this season, but the new power in Gentry Academy was too much for Dardis and Mahtomedi, losing 7-3. The Stars ended up easily cruising to a Class A State Championship.
Senior – 2021-2022
After losing in the section final the year before, Dardis and the Zephyrs were charged up for another state tournament run. Dardis’ stats kept getting better and better every season and he nearly reached the 1’s when it came to GAA finishing with a 2.04. Despite being outshot heavily in many games versus top AA teams, Dardis single handedly kept most of these games close in the regular season. In the section playoffs, Dardis carried a shutout in all three games as Mahtomedi made it back to state after a year hiatus. In the state semifinals, the Zephyrs met Warroad once again, but this time the Warriors were victorious in overtime. Mahtomedi would have to settle with a 3rd place finish after defeating Alexandria 4-2. The next day, Dardis was not surprisingly awarded the Frank Brimsek award at the 2022 Mr. Hockey banquet. Quite the high school career for the senior goaltender as he finished with a state championship, two 3rd place finishes, and winning the Frank Brimsek award. He even broke the state shutout record as he reached a total of 18 in the regular season. Amazing accolades for Dardis who is surprisingly still uncommitted. Watch for Ben to continue his success in juniors and quite possibly beyond.