Undefeated Hermantown rolls over Rebels in 5A playoffsThe Moose Lake Area boys hockey team fell 11-1 at top-ranked Hermantown last Thursday night in the Section 5A quarterfinals and – along the way – learned quite a bit.
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
In one word, it was an education.
The Moose Lake Area boys hockey team fell 11-1 at top-ranked Hermantown last Thursday night in the Section 5A quarterfinals and – along the way – learned quite a bit.
The Hawks (26-0-0) were simply too much for the Rebels, but Coach Josh Gamst was happy with the effort his players showed.
“They played extremely hard, but we didn’t match up,” he said. “They were too deep for us. [We] gave everything [we] had but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.”
To their credit, the Rebels did something that none of the Hawks’ previous four opponents managed to do, and something their semifinal opponent, Proctor, didn’t do either – they scored a goal.
Josh Cisar’s second-period power-play goal was his state-leading 63rd of the season – but it was the only time the Rebels found the range on the evening.
“It was a nice tribute that we scored,” Gamst said. “We had a few opportunities, and we could have capitalized on a couple more. We had chances to score three or four times, so we did have opportunities to score.”
Still, it was hard to argue with 11 Hermantown goals,
including nine in the first two periods.
“They are very good,” Gamst said of Coach Bruce Plante’s Hawks. “They are extremely deep, they play tough defense, and they move the puck well.”
The Rebels had difficulties dealing with Hermantown’s defensemen, arguably the top unit in the area from players one through six.
“Unquestionably the toughest we have seen,” Gamst said. “They have a pretty good goalie (senior Matt Mensinger) and they are a favorite to go all the way.”
In the final analysis, though, Gamst saw good and bad points with the outcome of the season.
“Overall I was a little disappointed with our record (12-15-0),” he said. “I thought we could have won five or six more games. You need a team effort every day and when we didn’t get it, we didn’t win. You have to be mentally prepared, because it’s a tough game to play.
“It’s extremely hard to get motivated to play at your highest level every night,” Gamst continued. “I think there were a few nights we weren’t ready. Some of the players prepare daily because this is their dream in life, and it shows.”
Along with Josh and Tyler Cisar, Gamst praised Michael Gassert’s season.
“They all worked extremely hard,” Gamst said.
Josh Cisar is lost to graduation next season but the Rebel fate of Tyler Cisar is open to speculation. The junior was reportedly considering a junior hockey tryout but Gamst says he may yet stay in Moose Lake.
“He’s only 16 and he’s got time,” Gamst said. “I still think he wants to play football, he’s got a chance to be a main running back and play defense again next season. It would have to be the right moment, and I don’t think he’s opposed to playing another year of hockey here, but if the right opportunity and the right team came by, he might go. It has to be right. He has plenty of years to play juniors.”
But in the end, Gamst chalks up the 2011-12 season to a learning experience.
“We need to get better, stronger, deeper,” he said. “We are going to have to change our game, because we won’t have all that firepower in the next couple years, but we will have young kids who will mature. In two years we have a good sized group coming up from bantams which will level off our team in age difference and overall skill.”