The State of Hockey Crowns A Pair Of State Champions
There’s one high school hockey tournament that captures the world’s attention.
You know the one.
The 2022 Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament played out in front of packed crowds at the Minnesota Wild’s Xcel Energy Center, with Hermantown High School capturing the 1A title and Andover High School capturing the 2A title.
The two schools earned state-wide bragging rights on March 12, with Hermantown taking on Warroad High School at noon, and Andover battling Maple Grove High School at 7 p.m.
Schools in Minnesota are split into two divisions — 1A and 2A, as noted above — based upon enrollment and geography, as determined by the Minnesota State High School League.
Plante Leads Hermantown
Every two years, they re-adjust their classifications to maximize competitive balance.
Junior forward Zam Plante — ranked No. 40 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting heading into this summer’s NHL Draft — led his Hermantown squad to victory with a pair of goals in a 3-2 win.
It was a family affair for the Plante family; Zam’s brother, Max Plante, is a sophomore who skates on the same line as his older sibling. The duo — sons of former NHLer Derek Plante — grew up watching their grandfather, Bruce Plante, routinely lead Hermantown to state finals appearances. It took a while for grandpa’s teams to prevail; Hermantown finally won titles in 2016 and 2017 in Bruce’s final two seasons.
“I’ve been watching it since I can remember, since my grandpa was coaching,” Zam Plante said via the MN Boys’ Hockey Hub. “Second place, second place, finally got two at the end. And to finally get to do it myself is the best feeling in the world.”
Plante, who has been splitting seasons between Minnesota High School Hockey and the USHL, racked up 61 points in 22 games this season with Hermantown, despite missing time with an injury.
Hermantown only lost two games all season, both coming to Class 2A schools that reached the state tournament in Cretin-Derham Hall and Maple Grove.
Dane Callaway led the way between the pipes for Hermantown, stopping 19 of the 21 shots sent his way. On the season, he recorded a 20-2-0 record, with a 1.47 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and five shutouts.
The victory wrapped up a dominating postseason for Hermantown; the Hawks won their three Section 7A games 13-0, 6-0 and 11-0 to secure their spot at Xcel Energy Center. There, they posted a 5-1 win in the Class A quarterfinal and a 7-1 win in the semifinal before Saturday’s championship bout.
Andover’s OT Thriller
The 2A title game, played in front of 18,950 fans, was a Saturday night thriller that needed two overtimes to decide a winner.
There, in that second extra period, senior forward Logan Gravink scored the biggest goal of the weekend, giving Andover a state title in a 6-5 double overtime win over Maple Grove.
“Lou Nanne came and talked to the boys and said this was the best hockey game he’s seen since 1969,” said Andover coach Mark Manney; Nanne has been the state tournament analyst since 1964. “It was fun on the bench and probably a great game to play in. Fortunately, we got the bounce and Logan finished it for us.”
Junior Gavyn Thoreson had quite the memorable goal, as well, as he forced OT by tying the game 5-5 with 1:50 left in regulation. Thoreson led Andover in scoring on the season, as he racked up 29 goals and 74 total points.
Austin Brauns was the leader from the crease for Andover throughout 2021-22 — he finished with a 22-5-1 record, 1.78 goals-against average, .929 save percentage and five shutouts.
Josh Giuliani did everything he could for Maple Grove; the senior forward scored a hat trick in the title game, a day after scoring a hat trick in the semifinals.
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