Boys hockey season ends at 19-6-2


Lincoln Madkour, Staff Writer

The boys hockey season this year ended at 19-6-2, the best record from a Mayo hockey team in the last ten years, but the record only tells part of the story. Here’s a little look at the exciting and emotional season that the team had. 

The year started off with a difficult first game, as the Spartans took on the Minnetonka Skippers, ranked number 1 in the state, a team that would go on to win the class 2A state championship. Minnetonka came out to an early 1 goal lead, but then the Spartans got 2 quick goals and took the lead 2-1. By the end of the 1st period it was tied 2-2, and the Spartans had high hopes going into the second, but senior goaltender Nick Weick let in 3 goals in the 2nd period, and the team allowed another 3 goals in the 3rd period to give the Skippers an 8-2 win. The next game for the Spartans ended in a 0-7 loss against the Chanhassen Storm which left the Spartans off to a rough start to the season. Still, facing tough competition made the team work harder and learn a great deal about their tactics, fitness, and skills.

Their next game was against Hastings, and this was one of their biggest games of the season because they knew it would be crucial to the end of the year seeding in their section. The Spartans were up 3-2 with six minutes left in the game when Hastings scored to tie the game and send it to overtime. The Spartans recorded ten shots in an 8 minute overtime period but just could not beat Hasting’s senior goaltender Kody Niederkorn, as he recorded 39 saves with only three goals allowed, and the game ended in a tie.

The Spartans then went on a nine-game winning streak. During that time, they won the annual Rochester Kiwanis Hockey Festival, defeating Fargo South and New Richmond, who would both go on to win the State Championship for their respective states. This streak, however, ended in a heartbreaking loss to John Marshall, where the crosstown rivals pulled off a huge upset. In fact, after the game some of the John Marshall parents could be overheard saying that this win was “their state championship.” It was such a crushing loss for the Spartans, but it also gave them motivation to win some big games in the following weeks, including against Northfield and Century.

They continued to dominate their last ten games, going 7-2-1, and amongst those games they faced Lakeville North in a game that would essentially lock in rankings for the section playoffs, as these two teams were fighting for the #2 seed. The Spartans were losing 3-0 and senior defenseman Payton Kor got the first goal 5 minutes and 40 seconds into the second period. Senior forward Ryan Dripps then buried the next two goals at 6:56 and 9:21 in the second period to tie up the game. The third period came, and the Spartans delivered; they dominated the pace of the game for the whole period, and with 6:05 left on the clock senior forward Matthew Seims scored, giving the Spartans the lead. Five minutes later with 37 seconds left senior forward Jacob Brown got an empty net goal to seal the game. The final score was 5-3 Mayo.

The Spartans ended the regular season 17-6-1, and the win over Lakeville North locked the team in the #2 seed for the section playoffs. Interestingly, the team found out their first game was going to be against the John Marshall Rockets, which made everyone extremely excited to get their revenge after the earlier, regular-season defeat. The stage was set, and once again the Spartans delivered with a 4-0 victory, effectively ending the Rockets’ season and sending the Spartans into the second round.

Two days later, the second round came, and the Spartans had to play the Lakeville North Panthers. The game started off with a great tip in goal from senior forward Cohen Ruskell just 3 minutes and 23 seconds in. The Spartans continued to control the game and have the momentum, until an unfortunate turnover cause the team to give up a tying goal. The second period was evenly split, and the score stayed the same 1-1. The Panthers broke the tie 9:44 into the third period, but the Spartans battled back and senior forward Jacob Brown got a tying goal, sending the teams into overtime. Spartan fans were feeling good going into overtime as they had not lost a game in overtime all year. The Spartans were trying to get a breakout when they had an unfortunate turnover. The panthers got it deep in the zone and it bounced onto the back of the net, and put it over Nick Weick’s shoulder and into the back of the net. 

The Spartan’s season ended in a truly heartbreaking fashion despite one of the best seasons that Rochester Mayo has had in the past decade.