North Region Bantam AA powers Hermantown and Duluth East will hook up in a much-anticipated late regular season game Tuesday at 8 p.m. at the hockey factory dubbed ‘da Hawks Dome.
The fifth-ranked Hawks, who are flying high with a 30-11-3 record, will wrap up regular season play later this week against Grand Rapids, Sibley and Brainerd. Then it’s on to the North Region playoffs in Moorhead the first weekend in March, with an eye on finishing first or second and moving on to state.
“We put together a tough schedule knowing that we’d have a pretty good team, and the kids haven’t disappointed,” said Hermantown Coach Grant Huttel. “We have good depth and a lot of playmakers with elite goal-scoring ability.”
Ethan Lund and Cole Antcliff are super-snipers with Blake Biondi-patented mitts.
“Ethan and Cole are very, very talented second-year bantams,” Huttel said.
Throw in Joey Pierce, one of Minnesota’s Bantam AA elite defenders, and Hermantown has the front and back end filled with offensive firepower.
“Joey’s a very offensive defenseman, a playmaker and great leader who has had a stellar season,” said Huttel of Pierce. “We’ve seen only one or two defenders at his level all season.”
Crafty Gavin Blomdahl is a first-year elite player with a major upside, Huttel said.
Luke Lind and David Rutka have split time in goal.
Huttel’s thoughts on the North Regionals?
“I do like our chances of advancing to state, having played our regional opponents Grand Rapids, Cloquet, Duluth East, Bemidji and Roseau once or twice already this season,” he said.
HERMANTOWN BANTAM AA ROSTER
Forwards – Ethan Lund, Cameron Pietrusa, Gavin Blomdahl, Aydyn Dowd, Daniel Walsh, Robbie Thorsten, Cole Antcliff, Beau Janzig, Aaron Pionk
Defensemen – Mike Graves, Joe Pierce, Alec Bramstedt, Jack Glockle, Jackson Lucia
Goaltenders – Luke Lind, David Rutka
Coaches — Grant Huttel, Karl Gilbert, Danny Knapp