Denfeld News

March 6, 2010
Duluth News Tribune

Hermantown clips Denfeld to win Section 5A final
By Rick Weegman

Neither Kevin Danielson nor Charlie Comnick can complain how their high school senior year is going.

After helping Hermantown to a runner-up finish in the Class A boys soccer state tournament last fall, the duo each scored in the third period Friday night to give the Hawks a 3-2 victory over Duluth Denfeld in the Section 5A hockey championship game before more than 2,000 spectators at Cloquet Area Recreation Center.

Danielson, a senior forward, jumped on a rebound in the slot for the game-winner with 3:46 to play as third-ranked Hermantown (25-3) earned a spot in the Minnesota Class A state tournament for the first time since winning the 2007 championship. The Hawks will find out their opponent when teams are seeded Sunday.

“We just kept at it,” Comnick said. “We were relaxed the whole game; we never expected to lose so we just kept playing. The feeling was like we were going to win the whole time.”

Part of that may be due to players’ success in other sports at the state level. Besides Danielson and Comnick, Willis Kantonen and Brett Ludwig were on that soccer team and Ludwig was one of the members of the Hawks’ state golf squad last spring.

“I think it helps with experience,” Comnick said. “When the pressure’s on, we know we can handle it.”

Comnick gave the Hawks a 2-1 lead at 3:27 of the third period when he knocked down a clearing attempt in the slot and beat Hunters freshman goaltender Zach Thompson, who made 45 saves.

Denfeld (14-12-2) tied the score at 7:51 when Tyler Kaspari put in a rebound of a Levi Talarico shot, but the Hawks controlled the pace of the game and owned a 17-3 edge in shots on goal in the final period.

“We haven’t had many panic moments this whole season,” Hawks coach Bruce Plante said. “They’ve been down that road before.”

Even during the chaos that ensued on the winning goal, the Hawks’ veterans stayed focused.

“[Chad Bannor] shot it, one of my linemates [Ludwig] shot it again, I was in the slot and went for the five-hole and ended up on my back,” Danielson said. “Game over.”

Denfeld coach Kevin Smalley, whose team lost 5-4 in overtime to Hermantown four weeks ago, said his team wasn’t the beneficiary of any lucky bounces.

“We tried an outlet pass and [the puck] hits the boards and comes directly back instead of going forward. There’s a skirmish and the next thing you know the puck goes in the net,” he explained. “That’s how these kind of games go. You’d like to see a great play made, but they made a great play by going to the net hard.”

Denfeld .................... 1-0-1—2
Hermantown ........... 0-1-2—3

First period — 1. DD, Brendan Johnson (Ryan Lundgren), 9:30.
Second period — 2. H, Adam Krause (Jared Kolquist, Brian LeBlanc), 1:57.
Third period — 3. H, Charlie Comnick, 3:27; 4. DD, Tyler Kaspari (Levi Talarico, Collin Magnuson), 7:51; 5. H, Kevin Danielson (Chad Bannor, Brett Ludwig), 13:14.
½Saves — Zach Thompson, DD, 45; Tyler Ampe, H, 18.

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