The last time I was blogging from the Minnesota boys state hockey tournament, I was not even a week removed from being laid off from my job as a photojournalist at the Duluth News Tribune. At the time, I really didn’t know what was ahead for me or what path I would take in life. A year later I find myself back at the same tournament, but with a completely different outlook on where I’m heading and what I’m doing. These greatly contrasting states of mind remind me of the two games I covered today.
The first was a showdown between two northern Minnesota teams in Hermantown and Virginia/Mt. Iron-Buhl. The two had met earlier this year with the Hawks of Hermantown coming out on top 4-2 over the Blue Devils of VMIB. Hermantown dominated the first period and went into the first break up 1-0, but VMIB rallied back in the second to make it a 1-1 game heading into the final period. It’s critical junctures like these when you hope your best players make themselves known. Hermantown’s senior captain, Mr. Hockey finalist and University of Minnesota Duluth recruit Adam Krause scored early in the third period to put the Hawks on top for good. They would go onto win 2-1 and will face Mahtomedi Friday morning.
The second game I covered pitted top-ranked Breck School against New Ulm. It was competitive for the first couple minutes and then it turned all Breck. The first period ended with the Mustangs of Breck up 2-0 over the Eagles of New Ulm. The second period opened up with a quick goal by Breck and another one a few minutes later before things went really bad really quick for New Ulm. Breck scored five times in less than two minutes to put the game out of reach and open up a 9-0 lead. That’s how the second period ended and Breck would go on to win 11-1.
The two games were such a contrast. One was high intensity action down to the last second while the other saw the game get out of hand before it was even halfway over. As a photographer, it’s hard to shoot those games that are so one-sided because the players start to reflect the score in their emotions. When Breck players put together their five goals in two minutes, they showed little emotion after scoring a goal. Not good for pictures. Each goal the rest of the way was like this. Things that kept me going was thinking if this keeps up, this could be some type of state record. I looked around and didn’t see any other photographers shooting so I figured I’d be in prime position to capture something unique should a historical blowout be reached. That never happened, but I did see New Ulm finally get on the scoreboard and that brought out a fair amount of emotion/relief from the team.
Well enough about the games and me… this is a photo blog after all. I’ll be back tomorrow with more photos as well as a review on the various hot dogs at the tournament.