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Boys hockey: Tigers meet their match

Farmington goaltender Gage Overby watches one of Lakeville North’s 51 shots sail wide during last Thursday night’s Section 1AA championship game in Rochester.

Farmington’s record-setting boys hockey season came to an end one game shy of the state tournament last Thursday night in Rochester.

South Suburban Conference champion Lakeville North stopped the Tigers’ winning streak at 18 games and captured its second straight Section 1AA championship with a convincing 6-0 shutout in the finals at the Rochester Recreation Center.

The Tigers finished the season with a school-record 23 wins against only four losses and one tie, and captured the school’s first Missota Conference championship banner in 38 years.

“It’s always tough when the end is so abrupt. The boys took it pretty hard. They had grown pretty close over the season,” Farmington coach Keith Revels said. “The pain will fade over time – kids are pretty resilient that way. The memories, accomplishments and bonds they formed will each be lasting. I’m so proud of this group of young men.”

The game started well for the Tigers, with the shots about equal and neither team finding the net despite a couple of chances over the first 10 minutes. North finally lit the lamp on the power play at the 11:55 mark, but the first period ended with the score still just 1-0.

“We had a good start which was a must for us,” Revels said. “We had some good looks, but nothing to show for it.”

The second turned out to be the decisive period. The Panthers posted a 23-5 advantage in shots on goal and scored four times in a span of just over seven minutes, pushing their lead to 5-0 heading into the third.

The Panthers scored with a man advantage again late in the third, making them 3 for 4 on the power play, which helped them accumulate a 51-28 shot advantage. Goaltender Gage Overby finished with 45 saves.

“Specialty teams are always big, but even more so in the playoffs. Their power play was not fancy – get it to the point and shoot, tip screen and rebound,” Revels said. “The difference between giving up a power play goal or killing off a penalty is intensified in high-stakes games. They are a big momentum shift.”

The loss ended the careers of eight seniors: Dallas Tucker, Nick Schoening, Corey Rudrud, Tanner Grubb, Jack Erickson, Landon Neilson, Chris Fitzgibbons and Alex Aubrecht. The group helped the Tigers reach the section finals for the first time since 2000.

“The boys worked hard and played well to get there,” Revels said. “Success is a journey, not a destination.”