By: Jared Hines
In front of thousands of fans in black and red at Xcel Energy Center, the Moose stepped out on the ice in St. Paul for the third time in four years.
The opponent–No. 3 Hermantown–was familiar as the Moose have face the Hawks all three times they have played in the MSHSL Class A State Tournament.
Unfortunately for Monticello, the result was familiar as well with Hermantown winning 7-1 and sending the Moose to the consolation bracket.
In the first period, the Moose and Hawks battled back and forth early before Mr. Hockey finalist Blake Biondi put Hermantown up 1-0 2:58 into the first period. The goal was Biondi’s 44th of the season and he wasn’t done. With 50 seconds left in the first period, Biondi scored again, putting the Hawks up 2-0 into the first intermission.
Into the second, the Moose’s first big opportunity came when Hermantown was called for a penalty 4:56 into the second period. The Monticello power play producing a goal would have been huge in switching the momentum from the Hawks’ side over to the Moose. Instead, the Hawks found an opportunity of their own, scoring shorthanded 6:02 into the second period to put Hermantown up 3-0. With 22.8 seconds left in the period, Biondi scored his third goal of the game to put the Hawks up 4-0 into the final period.
The Moose’s only goal came from Riley Ronayne-his fifth of the season-6:49 into the third period. The Hawks scored three goals of their own in the last period and will advance to take on No. 2 seeded St. Cloud Cathedral on Friday morning.
With the loss, the Moose fall to the consolation bracket where they will take on Mankato East/Loyola at the University of Minnesota on Thursday morning at 10 a.m. The winner of that game will play again on Saturday at 10 a.m. to finish off the season.