Blake Biondi and Joey Pierce scored two goals each to power Hermantown to a 7-1, running-time victory over Mahtomedi in the Lakeview Summer Classic high school boys hockey championship Sunday afternoon at Mars Lakeview Arena.
Darian Gotz, Justin Thomas and Sam High also scored goals for the Hawks, who advanced to the Lakeview final with victories over Brainerd and Benilde-St. Margaret’s.
“I like our depth,” Hermantown Coach Pat Andrews said following the championship game. “I thought our young guys played really well, and our old guys were great leaders. After this weekend, I’m really excited for November.”
Andrews said he was particularly impressed by the play of elites Biondi, a junior forward and Bulldogs commit, and Pierce, a sophomore defenseman and a rising Division I prospect.
“Blake was unbelievable, as always, and Joey is the real deal,” said Andrews.
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More post-tourney quotes:
“We got down early to Brainerd, and came back, and we got down early here today to Mahtomedi, and it was like the guys said, ‘Alright, we’re not going to lose.’ That was impressive. (Cole) Manahan and (Jacob) Backstrom played great in goal.”
More on Biondi, from Andrews:
“He’s an awesome kid, a hard-worker, polite and funny. Blake’s at the rink every day, all summer long. His hockey IQ is off the charts. He’s at top speed after one step, and he has great, quick hands. You saw the goal he scored today when he went backhand, bar-down. The goalie didn’t think the shot was coming. He does things every day when you scratch your head and say, ‘Wow’. He’s a college guy, a future pro.”
Said Pierce, a big-time Division I prospect:
“The high school game is faster and more physical, compared to bantams. But I’m feeling comfortable. We’re deep defensively and offensively, and we expect to have a strong, successful season.”
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Biondi will compete for Team USA in the 13-day U17 5 Nations Tournament in Slovakia in August. He scored 30 goals and had 58 points in 31 games last season.
“My No. 1 goal this summer was to represent my country in the 5 Nations,” said Biondi.
Biondi, on his summer training:
“I participated in Sioux City’s (USHL) camp and mostly trained here in Hermantown. I’m focusing a lot on my overall quickness. I’m looking forward to playing in the upcoming high school season, when we will have a large target on our backs and will play a tough schedule. We hated the feeling of finishing third at state last season, when we felt like we let down our city and school. Just like everyone who plays high school hockey, the goal is to win the state championship next season.”
Biondi, on verbally committing to the Bulldogs:
“No regrets, (and) I haven’t looked back on my decision. It will be a tough jump, and I might need a year of juniors.”
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Other Hawks who stood out this weekend:
Gotz — Quarterbacked the power-play, handled the puck with poise.
Manahan — Big, freakishly-athletic goalie. One of the top goalies in the state, certainly in Class 1A.