Section 8A Hockey: Green Wave earn trip to state with 5-1 win over Warroad
The Trek to the X is becoming a familiar path for the East Grand Forks Senior High boys hockey program.
For the fourth time in five years, the Green Wave are headed to the Minnesota state tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Coby Stauss scored two goals as Senior High beat Warroad 5-1 in the Minnesota Section 8A championship game on Thursday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
The Green Wave, 17-8-2, advance to next week's state tournament, which begins Wednesday. The tournament will be seeded Saturday morning, with the Wave likely netting a fourth or fifth seed.
"This is what we've been working for all year," said Senior High forward Nick Lund, who played at Grand Forks Central a year ago. "Minnesota hockey is a treat. The competition has been great. It's great to go to the X from what I've heard."
The No. 1-seeded Green Wave controlled play from start to finish against No. 3-seeded Warroad. Senior High was held scoreless in the first period, despite outshooting the Warriors 13-3.
The Wave opened the scoring with the only goal of the second period. Stauss scored his first goal with 4:09 left in the second. The junior forward couldn't connect on a 3-on-1 opportunity on a rush, but he was able to regather the puck before it left the zone and made up for it with a short-handed goal to make it 1-0.
Senior High bumped the lead to 3-0 with two goals 23 seconds apart in the third period. With 10:39 left in the game, Bauer Brown popped in his own rebound. With 9:58 left, Lund drug a puck across the front of the crease and scored on his backhand as he hit the ice.
Stauss then scored his second of the game on the power play with 5:58 to go.
"I thought we played really well," Koberinski said. "If we can keep other teams off the shot chart, that's an advantage for us. We saved our best for the third period and played smart hockey."
Koberinski said this Senior High team is a hard-working group, with a different makeup than the program's teams that won section titles in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
"We don't have many top-end guys," Koberinski said. "We have blue-collar guys who feed off each other. If we can get everyone chipping in, we can be in good shape."
Senior High outshot Warroad 29-14.
Beau Wilmer scored the Warriors goal late in the third period, a tally answered by Casey Kallock's empty-net goal for the final margin.
"We spent way too much time in our end," said Warroad coach Jay Hardwick, whose team ended the year 11-16-1. "They're a very good team. When you give them that much zone time, they're going to score goals. I can't fault our effort. We just didn't have enough tonight."