I’ve learned throughout my years of covering sports that it’s not wise to leave until the buzzer has sounded. In 2005, the Wisconsin football team blocked a Minnesota punt in the final seconds and recovered it in the endzone to complete an improbable win. A few weeks prior to that, the Badgers sacked Kyle Orton with just a couple minutes left forcing him to fumble. Wisconsin’s Scott Starks picked up the fumble and ran it in for a touchdown to seal that game. Last year the College of St. Scholastica men’s basketball team was down by more than 20 points in the second half in their conference championship game and rallied back in dramatic fashion to win by a comfortable margin. The list goes on and on. You never know what’s going to happen until the clock hits zero and sometimes you don’t even know then. Today was one of those days.
Hermantown met Mahtomedi in a Class A state semifinal game. I was covering Hermantown for the Duluth News Tribune. The game started off with Mahtomedi scoring first, but Hermantown answered back with a goal of their own. The first period ended 2-2 and the second period ended with the score tied at three apiece. This is where things got interesting.
The teams traded goals to open up the third period before Mahtomedi answered with two straight goals to make it 6-4 with under nine minutes to go. This is where Hermantown’s Charlie Comnick comes in. Comnick scored two straight goals in less than two minutes to complete the hat trick with all three goals coming in the third period. Think that’s good? It gets better. As the second were ticking down, a Mahtomedi player fired a shot at Hawks goalie Tyler Ampe and it went into the net. The impression of the puck on the back of the net and the buzzer seemed to happen in unison and Mahtomedi began celebrating their victory by throwing their sticks, hats, gloves and more in the air as they formed a huge dogpile on the ice. However, instant replay showed that the puck was in the crease, but had not crossed the line so it was ruled no goal. With the velocity of that shot in the final second and its position in the crease, a matter of 0.1 seconds would have made all the difference between the Hawks playing at Mariucci Arena on Saturday or playing in overtime.
As luck would have it, Hermantown scored just a couple minutes into overtime to win 7-6 and the celebration was on. I’m pretty excited to be covering a finals game this year with a local team in the mix. So here are some photos from today’s exciting game…