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State hockey tournament: Hermantown wins thriller

From left, Hermantown's Jared Thomas celebrates his overtime goal as Mahtomedi players skate off the ice during the Class A State hockey tournament Friday. AP Photo/Star Tribune, Bruce Bisping

ST. PAUL (AP) -- It was a ride to remember.

Moments after Mahtomedi's apparent game-winning goal was ruled to have come after time expired, Hermantown's Jared Thomas scored 1:14 into overtime to give the Hawks a 7-6 win in the Class 1A semifinal Friday at Xcel Energy Center.

Hermantown will face either defending Class 1A champion Breck in Saturday's championship game, after Breck beat Warroad 4-2.

The Hermantown-Mahtomedi semifinal was stressful for both teams.

"Nerve wracking," said Hermantown coach Bruce Plante. "Just gotta keep playing."

"I think we all threw up on that roller coaster," said Mahtomedi coach Jeff Poeschl.

At the end of regulation, Mahtomedi players thought they had won after Charlie Adams ripped a shot past Hermantown goaltender Tyler Ampe with the game clock at zero. Mahtomedi players were jubilant, throwing their equipment in the air and celebrating on the ice.

A video review clearly showed the puck failed to cross the goal line before time expired, and the game would go into overtime.

"To be that close, we thought we had it," said Adams through tears. "It hurts."

Hermantown went into the extra period refreshed after the short wait for the video replay, while Mahtomedi was spent from its premature celebration.

"They called no goal and we got our legs back," said Thomas, a sophomore who rushed the net and slid the puck past a sprawling Brad Wohlers, sending the Hawks and their supporters into a frenzy.

ST. PAUL (AP) -- The boys from Breck High School are one victory from becoming the first team to win consecutive Minnesota state hockey championships in nearly two decades.

Mike Morin scored two goals and John Russell made 15 saves to lead defending champion Breck to a 4-2 win over Warroad in the Class 1A semifinals, a rematch of last year's title game.

"We're looking at one more game," said coach Les Larson, whose team topped Warroad 7-3 in last year's championship.

Warroad got off to a good start. Mr. Hockey finalist Nelson also scored in the third period, but Breck scored four goals in between his goals en route to a 16th straight win.

"We needed to come out right away and get on top," Nelson said. "We did that, but came up short at the end."

The Mustangs will take the ice on Saturday to face Hermantown.

Breck has also won state championships in 2000 and 2004. Hermantown is going for its second state title, the first coming in 2007.

The teams did not play each other during the regular season.

ST. PAUL (AP) -- Edina coach Curt Giles sensed a transformation in junior goaltender Connor Girard late in the season.

The shift led Giles to lean on Girard during the playoffs after two goaltenders split time during the season.

Girard is now rewarding his coach's faith in him.

Girard made 18 saves to propel Edina to a 2-0 victory against Apple Valley in the first Class 2A semifinal.

"We saw Connor growing confidence in the last few weeks of the season," Giles said. "As we saw tonight, if you get good goaltending pretty much anything can happen for you."

Edina will face the winner of Friday's other semifinal between Minnetonka and Hill-Murray.

The Minnetonka-Hill Murray game was not completed in time when the Pioneer went to press.