Article TextSometimes things just sneak up on a person. This one did Monday at the Edina Invitational. Before Peewee A semifinals started, two teams took the ice to play the Bantam B1 semifinals. The first team was instantly recognizable in their orange and black “white jerseys”. That team was White Bear Lake.
The second team was not recognizable in their orange and black “black jerseys”. One thing for certain, the second team was not from White Bear Lake. They had Tigers on their chests, but Crow River was not entered.
The stranger turned out to be the New Richmond Wisconsin Tiger Bantam A team (A teams from out of state are considered B teams for games played in the state). They play in District 2 Bantam B1 league and are currently in the middle of the pack with a 3-4-1 record. Before Christmas the Tigers had lost to the White Bear Lake Black team 5-1 in a D2 game.
They were playing the Black team in the semifinal game. There was 3 minutes left in the second period and New Richmond was leading 1-0. The Tigers were pressuring White Bear Lake in the Bears’ zone. With a minute left in the period, the Bears drew a penalty. Ten seconds later, the Bears scored a shorthanded goal to tie the game 1-1. The goal came off a backhand shot from the right faceoff. The puck rolled off the goalies pad and hit the right side of the net. The period ended 1-1.
The game seemed strange. It isn’t often that one walks into the Edina tourney and sees a team from Wisconsin going for a championship title. But that is kids playing hockey.
The third period opened with New Richmond on the power play. The Tigers had difficulty establishing puck control in the Bears’ zone. The Bears killed the penalty. They killed a second penalty called a minute later.
At the 11 minute mark, the game became a good hockey game, both teams moved the puck. Both teams had scoring opportunities. Gradually, White Bear Lake established more and more control of the puck in the Tiger’s zone. For most of the middle part of the third period, the Bears attacked. But New Richmond defense, lead by goalie David Mayry shut them down.
A hooking penalty at the 6 minute mark resulted in a New Richmond power play. The Tigers set up in the White Bear Lake zone and pressured the Bears’ defense. The Bears killed that penalty and killed the second penalty as the third period ended. The game was tied 1-1.
A minute into the overtime, New Richmond’s Drake Durham worked the puck along the end boards to the left of the Bear net. Durham freed himself of the White Bear Lake defense, turned into the left side of the crease and jammed the puck through the White Bear Lake goalie. The Tigers won 2-1 in overtime. Durham had scored both goals.
New Richmond plays in the Championship Game at 4:00 Sunday. That will be the real David versus Goliath game. They play the Edina. The Edina bantams are leading in D6 and have compiled a 17-4-4 record. The Hornets beat Lakeville North in the other semifinal game 10-2 Monday evening.
That is what makes Minnesota hockey great.