Jake Hodd-Chlebeck braces for a hit on Orono forward Cayden Effertz.

Mahtomedi doesn’t care what you say about their record, they win when it matters most

Mahtomedi made their way into the tournament for the fourth time in the last five years, but this time, they look to repeat as champions. The defending Class A champs didn’t take an easy route to the tourney this year, having to sneak by Southwest Christian/Richfield 3-2 in the section finals. But they don’t care how they got to St. Paul they care about keeping the title in Zephyr land. 

The Zephyrs took care of business in the most exciting game of the day, scoring four unanswered goals en route to a 5-2 win over Orono. 

After a deadlock at zero through one period, shots were also even at 8-8. Both goalies were putting on a clinic in the first half of the game, Peyton Anderson and Charlie Brandt both made great saves to keep their teams in the game. 

Orono and Mahtomedi battled all night, including many scrums.

The Second period featured more of the same, both goalies standing tall, but Mahtomedi was finally able to get one past Anderson. At the 8:31 mark of the middle frame, Max Strecker scored on the power play right off the faceoff, giving the Zephyrs a 1-0 lead. After a penalty was called on Mahtomedi, the Spartans had a shot to tie the game, and they did just that. Joey Mugaas got a power play goal for Orono, and the Spartans tied the game back up 1-1 to end the period. Shots favored the Spartans 10-8 after the middle frame. 

The Second period is where things got crazy. Over eight minutes into the frame, Orono scored their go-ahead goal. Brooks Fegers showed some very nice hand-eye coordination to redirect a Jimmy Egan shot which found its way past Brandt. The goal was initially waved off because it looked as if Fegers stick was over the crossbar, but after the review, the call was reversed. 2-1 the Spartans led the Zephyrs over midway through the third period. 

It wasn’t long before the defending champions responded with a goal of their own. Jake Hodd-Chlebeck used his elite speed to get past the Orono defender and sniped a short-side goal that snuck beside the head of Anderson. The Spartans tied the game back up at 2-2 but held on because the Zephyrs took only 18 seconds to get the go-ahead goal. Mahtomedi held the 3-2 lead and all the momentum with over six minutes remaining. 

With over two minutes left in the game, the Spartans pulled their goalie Anderson, to try and get a goal back. The Spartans saw a couple of good looks but the hope for a comeback dwindled when Sam Harris scored into the empty net from the opposite side of the ice. Hodd-Chlebeck scored his second of the game as the Zephyrs netted another empty netter, so take the 5-2 win. 

The Zephyrs improved to 18-11-0 on the season, and their hunt for a back-to-back title continues as they face Hermantown on Friday at 1:00 p.m.