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5 teams reach state tournament, Greenway stuns perennial power Hermantown

Hermantown's streak of nine straight years in the state tourney is over.
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Section finals week in boys high school hockey is always exciting, and Wednesday night's thriller in Duluth lived up to the hype created by the same matchup a year ago, while also bringing an end to a run of dominance by the Hermantown Hawks. 

Pulling the upset was Greenway, a small school in Coleraine, Minnesota, that stunned the perennial powerhouse with a 3-2 double-overtime thriller at Amsoil Arena. 

The hero: Donte Lawson, who buried a rebound past Hermantown's goalie 13 minutes and 49 seconds into the second overtime. 

As wild as this section final was, last year's was even more of a thriller as Greenway scored with fractions of a second left on the clock to force overtime, only to fall to Hermantown in a second overtime period. 

The upset ends Hermantown's streak of nine straight trips to the state tournament, which included a surreal six consecutive losses in the state title game (2010-2015) followed by back-to-back championships in 2016 and 2017. They finished third at state a year ago.

For Greenway, it's the school's first trip to the state tournament since 2001.

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According to the Duluth News Tribune, Lawson had a 5-point game in Greenway's win over Duluth Denfeld on Saturday, doing so after arriving to the game following a trip from Minneapolis where he was with his brother who underwent a third kidney transplant. 

Other teams to punch tickets to the state tournament on Wednesday night: 

  • Eden Prairie: defeated Holy Family Catholic 3-1
  • Moorhead: topped Brainerd 3-2
  • Edina: defeated Benilde-St. Margaret's 5-1
  • New Ulm: outlasted Hutchinson 6-4

More section finals Thursday night: 

  • Lakeville North vs. Lakeville South (Section 1AA)
  • St. Thomas Academy vs. Eagan (Section 3AA)
  • Blaine vs. Maple Grove (Section 5AA)
  • Andover vs. Duluth East (Section 7AA)
  • Minnesota River vs. Rochester Lourdes/Dover-Eyota (Section 1A)
  • Orono vs. Delano (Section 2A)
  • North Branch vs. Chisago Lakes (Section 5A)
  • St. Cloud Cathedral vs. Alexandria (Section 6A)
  • Warroad vs. East Grand Forks (Section 8A)

There are a pair of section finals on Friday, Totino-Grace against Mahtomedi and Hill-Murray versus White Bear Lake, and those will be followed with the unveiling of the state tournament brackets on Saturday morning. 

Coleraine, by the way, is a town of just under 2,000 people northeast of Grand Rapids. 

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