Howie: Hermantown shines in summer prep boys hockey tournament

Hermantown was impressive in the Lakeview Summer Classic high school boys hockey tournament last weekend at Mars Lakeview Arena in Duluth, winning two of three games despite playing without standout senior forward Blake Biondi who was preparing to compete in an elite world junior tournament overseas later this week.

The defending Section 7A runner-up Hawks showcased a strong defensive corp, led by elite junior Joey Pierce who played right wing on the top forward line a year ago. Seniors Drew Sams, Zach Carson and Indio Dowd stood out. Jackson Lucia, Jack Glockle and Brady Rothe will compete for top-six spots.

Up front, Virginia High transfer Zach Kilen and burly Jack Mathison were impressive, along with junior super-sniper Aaron Pionk. Ethan Lund and Aydyn Dowd are also elite forwards to watch.

Jacob Backstrom was solid in goal and likely will be the No. 1 starter to open the season.

“We have such a great culture here in Hermantown with our four outdoor rinks, kids skating every day from after school to 10 p.m.,” said Mathison. “Having the big crowds cheering us on, from the kids to our grandparents, it’s great.”

Howie’s Hockey Notebook

Duluth Denfeld freshman-to-be forward Connor McClure had a goal and an assist in four games for Team Kelly in the 2019 Boys Select 15 Player Development Camp held last week at Northtown Center in Amherst, N.Y.

Zam Plante of Hermantown, another elite local forward, had one assist in four games for Team Forest.

. . .

Pionk. New York Rangers TV

Neal Pionk of Hermantown agreed to terms on a two-year, $6 million contract with the Winnipeg Jets today — for a guaranteed average annual value of $3 million. The 23-year-old defenseman, a restricted free-agent who was acquired from the New York Rangers in a trade for Jacob Trouba earlier this summer, was scheduled to have an arbitration hearing Wednesday in Toronto.

. . .

The 2019 Lakeview Summer Classic high school boys hockey tournament will be held Friday through Sunday at beautiful Mars Lakeview Arena in Duluth. Class 2A power Benilde-St. Margaret’s and Class 1A favorite Hermantown are elite teams in the eight-team field. Defending Section 7A champion Greenway, Brainerd, St. Cloud, Mahtomedi, Bemidji and Duluth Marshall are also enterred.

Players to watch:

. Hermantown’s Blake Biondi, a senior forward and elite Bulldogs recruit, and Joey Pierce, an uncommitted junior defenseman

. Benilde-St. Margaret’s Blake Mesenburg, an uncommitted senior forward who had a team-high 49 points (23 goals) last season, and senior defenseman Nate Schweitzer, a Colorado College commit and four-year varsity regular who finished with 42 points (15 goals) a year ago

Schedule

Quarterfinals
Duluth Marshall vs. Bemidji, 5:30 p.m. Friday
St. Cloud vs. Mahtomedi, 7:45 p.m. Friday
Brainerd vs. Hermantown, 8:30 p.m. Saturday
Greenway vs. Benidle-St. Margaret’s, 10:45 a.m. Saturday

Semis
3:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Saturday

Final
3:30 p.m. Sunday

All games at beautiful Mars Lakeview Arena.

2019-20 All-218 Preseason High School Boys Hockey Team

FIRST TEAM
F — Blake Biondi, Hermantown sr.
F — Joey Pierce, Hermantown jr.
F — Logan Anderson, Duluth East sr.
D — Mason Langenbrunner, Cloquet jr.
D — Jack Peart, Grand Rapids jr.
G — Carter Clafton, Grand Rapids sr.

SECOND TEAM
F — Christian Galatz, Cloquet jr.
F — Griffin Lehet, Duluth Denfeld sr.
F — Ben Troumbly, Greenway sr.
D — Christian Miller, Greenway sr.
D — Jackson Lucia, Hermantown jr.
G — Owen Carlson, Cloquet sr.

2019-20 Player of the Year — Blake Biondi, Hermantown sr.

2019-20 Forward of the Year — Blake Biondi, Hermantown sr.

2019-20 Defenseman of the Year — Mason Langenbrunner, Cloquet jr.

2019-20 Goalie of the Year — Carter Clafton, Grand Rapids sr.

2019-20 Coach of the Year — Patrick Andrews, Hermantown

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