Dragons Take Moose to the Wire in Section Championship Game

For the first time since 2002 the Pine City Area Boys Hockey team was playing in a Section 5A Championship game. Their opponents, the Monticello Moose, have played in the game four times in the five years that they have been in Class A. The rarity of the situation for Pine City provided an excitement that could be felt in the community each day leading up to the game. When game day arrived, fans from the communities of Pine City, Rush City, and Hinckley-Finlayson donned their green apparel (with some blaze orange and camouflage mixed in) and headed south to Fogerty Arena in Blaine. Three hours before puck drop people were already in the parking lot waiting with anticipation to get in the rink. By the time the teams were on the ice for warmups well over 1500 people were in their seats most of them from the Pine City area.

A big question going into this game was how the Dragon players and coaches were going to react to the moment. None of the players had played in a game of this magnitude and Grant Nicoll hadn't seen a moment like this since he was a senior in high school playing in this same game. They were up against an opponent that had been in this game before, recently, and coaches that had the opportunity to coach a state championship game. The nerves were present for the Dragons early as Monticello got off to a hot start first. A couple nice saves by Alex Laven early on kept the Moose off the score sheet by 10:55 into the first period, Monticello got on the board with a goal from Jacob Pederson. The Moose used the momentum from that goal to grab another one just two minutes later. This time it was Jacob Sorensen who found the back of the net for the Moose and Pine City quickly found themselves behind a two goal deficit. There was a quiet in the crowd for Pine City and the Dragon fans nerves were high, scared their team was going to get run out of the buildi