Delano-Rockford boys hockey team has qualified for the State Class A tournament four times in the past five years. After losing 2-1 to Little Falls last week, the team has now lost in the first round all four times.
There was no opportunity to claim a fourth consolation title because of COVID restrictions.
Delano-Rockford has a team goal of holding opposing teams to 15 shots on its own goal. Little Falls managed to get 16 shots and hold on for a one-goal victory.
Meanwhile, D-R outshot Little Falls in all three periods, including 11-3 in the first, 11-5 in the second and 12-8 in the third for an advantage of 34-16 shots on goal in the game.
Will Brown tied the game at 1-1 in the second period, assisted by Jack Keranen. Junior goalie Thomas Huotari made 14 saves.
“We felt like Little Falls played their best and we did not,” said coach Gerrit van Bergen. “We struggled to find space to create and when we did their goalie was able to make the save.”
Little Falls was the No. 4 state tourney seed and Delano-Rockford was fifth. In the semifinals Little Falls fell to Dodge County 4-1. Gentry Academy won the state title to stay undefeated.
“This group was special,” added van Bergen. “Many of our seniors have been varsity regulars for three seasons and they were able to end their season as section champions each year. We will miss them dearly.”
Graduating seniors are Jack Keranen, Colin Pettit, Brad Pinoniemi, Adam Brown, Tyler Selstad, Trevor Oja and Braeden Collins.
Adam Brown led the team in scoring with 10 goals and 22 assists for 32 points. Pinoniemi was second with 16 goals and 13 assists for 29 points.
Junior Jesse Peterson had 28 points on 12 goals and 16 assists and Selstad had 12 goals and 15 assists for 27 points. Huotari posted a 9.02 save percentage and goals against average of 1.71 in goal.