Hermantown Hawks Soar Over Rogers Royals in a 9-0 Section 5A Semifinals Win [PHOTOS]
The backdrop for Hermantown's last game on home ice for the 2012-2013 season was a Section 5A semifinal game with section #4 ranked Rogers heading north to Hermantown. In the last meeting between the two teams, the Hawks beat Rogers 11-2 and hopes were high that a repeat was in the works.
After notching their tenth straight win coming in a 10-0 victory over Proctor in the section quarterfinals, the Hermantown offense was primed and ready to strike. Nate Pionk got things going for the Hawks, finding the net 4:03 into the first quarter. Ryan Kero and Chris Benson netted back-to-back goals only 19 seconds apart midway through the first quarter taking things to an early 3-0 lead for Hermantown. Another Pionk goal bookended the first quarter's scoring with Neal, the older of the two, scoring at the 9:47 mark on a Hawks power play.
Going into the second period with a 4-0 lead, the Hawks struck early with Travis Koepke hitting pay-dirt on a power play 1:38 into the middle period of the game. Chris Benson followed up with a pair of special teams goals, scoring one shorthanded for the Hawks (7:09) and another on the power play (9:31) to earn a hat trick that was followed up by a few fans tossing their caps for the occasion.
With a 7-0 lead and the game well in hand entering the final period of play, Luke Jacques (3:45) and Neal Pionk (power play 11:15) found the net to close out the game with a final score of 9-0. While junior goaltender Adam Smith spent most of the game between the pipes earning the win, Jace Thomas made an appearance in the third period to close out the shutout for the Hawks.
Hermantown's win was powered by an oppressive show of force in the offensive zone, outshooting Rogers 48-15. The Hawks were also efficient on the power play, converting each advantage to points in the game.
The Hawks now faces Section 5A #2 seed St. Cloud Cathedral in Champlin on Friday, March 1 at 7 pm. In the only regular season game between these two teams, Cathedral beat Hermantown 5-4 in overtime.