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Laker boys' hockey playoff run halted by Warroad in semis

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Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

It's 37 seconds the Detroit Lakes boys' hockey team wishes it could have back.

That was the amount of time the Warroad Warriors needed to score their only two goals of the game during the Section 8-1A semifinals Monday. Those two goals, just 37 seconds apart, would be all the second-seeded team would need to advance in the playoffs.

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The Warriors moved on to the Section 8-1A championship game against Thief River Falls Thursday in Warroad, as the Lakers' playoff push halted with a 2-1 loss.

DL's Joe Schiller notched the team's lone goal in the second period, on a beautiful behind-the-net pass from forward Jake Bergquist, giving the Lakers much hope the rest of the way.

But Warroad's home rink advantage -- with all the section games played on the Warriors' Olympic sized hockey sheet -- and its defensive mode of play was enough to stifle the Lakers the rest of the way through.

"You have to hand it to the boys, they left everything out on the ice," said DL head coach Jason Vold, who brought the Lakers a final record of 19-8 and a trip to the playoff semifinals. "They could have folded after falling down 2-0, but they rose to the occasion instead."

DL actually controlled the game for much of the early stages of the first period, outshooting Warroad by a 4-0 margin. But the Warriors' first two shots on Laker goalie Mike Haggart both found the mark for a 2-0 edge.

"We were buzzing them right away, but just couldn't break through," Vold said of the early minutes of the game.

Haggart finished with 24 saves, while DL had 23 shots on goal. The Lakers also had a few opportunities to tie the game with under two minutes left in the third, after Haggart was pulled and DL won a couple of face-offs near the Warroad net.

The second face-off ended with the stick of defenseman Nick Grabow on the blue line. He let a slapshot sail, but unfortunately for the Lakers, there were too many bodies between himself and the goalie, and it was deflected harmlessly away.

"If that (shot) could have gotten through the defense, it could have been tied," Vold said of Grabow's shot.

The No. 6 Lakers advanced to the semifinals with a very impressive victory over third-seeded Crookston Saturday night in Warroad, with a final score of 4-3.

The victory was DL's first in Section 8-1A quarterfinal playoff action. The Lakers joined Section 8-1A in 2001-02.

A deflection by Harms on a Grabow shot from the blue line salvaged the victory late in the third period, after a furious Crookston comeback erased a 3-0 DL lead.

The Lakers bolted to a 3-0 lead, with all goals coming in the second period. Forward Jedd Harms started the barrage with an unassisted effort, followed by a Mox Gunderson tally with Alex Provo picking up the assist.

Bergquist was aided by Grabow on a power play opportunity, to give the Lakers a 3-0 advantage heading into the final period.

The lead was short-lived, though, as Crookston notched three goals in a three-minute span, but it would be Harms' tipped goal which would save the day.

"Everyone in the building thought it was Crookston's game after they tied it up," Vold added. "That Harms goal was just huge."

Haggart finished with solid 26 saves, while the Lakers had 29 shots on goal.

"Mike (Haggart) had a lot of big saves in the game, he played well," Vold said. "All of Crookston's goals were well-earned."

The improbable Laker run to the semifinals, and the team's 19-8 record, did get them some recognition from the well-respected Section 8-1A teams.

"We earned some respect up there," Vold said.

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