By Bruce Karnick [email protected] High school tournament time is a time that kids work their entire lives to get to, hoping they have that one Cinderella season and win it all. 256 teams across …
By Bruce Karnick
High school tournament time is a time that kids work their entire lives to get to, hoping they have that one Cinderella season and win it all. 256 teams across the state of Minnesota compete for two championships, class A and AA with each class being divided in to eight sections. In 1994, the MSHSL adopted the two-class system in use today. The largest 64 schools based on enrollment make up class AA and the rest are class A. Sections are created heavily leaning on geography as the deciding factor.
Seeding in the sections has been based on QRF, or Quality Results Formula that was implemented by the MSHSL in 2011 that has some super-secret formula. OK, not really, it was created by Ryan Weinzierl, owner of Minnesota-scores.net. The formula takes three pieces into account. Each team receives points for games they play along with every other game played in the state. Wins are worth more points and takes into account the classification and win-loss record of opponents. It also factors in strength of schedule and each subsequent win by an opponent. OK, not secret, but confusing.
Now that you fully understand QRF and its implementation, let’s talk about the Raiders.
In class AA, Hastings QRF of 63.8 on the season was ranked 38th where Lakeville South was ranked third with 126.9, so heading into Saturday’s game, the Raiders were clear underdogs.
The game was very fast paced from the start and 4:46 into the first period, Luke Savage connected with Jake Harris who took it to the house, scoring the first goal of the game. 6:53 later, the Cougars tied the game at one. After one period of play, it appeared as though Hastings was going keep pace with Lakeville South.
The second period changed the momentum quickly. 17 seconds quickly to be exact. Lakeville took the lead for good on the first shift of the second period. A spot the Raiders have struggled with all season long. By the end of two, the Cougars had scored two more and lead 4-1. The final score of the game, 7-1.
Give the boys credit, they never quit. The scoreboard says different, especially in the shots on goal line, 41-18 in favor of Lakeville, but that doesn’t mean Hastings rolled over. The boys fought hard and made the Cougars earn every point they scored.
After the game, many of the boys left the ice filled with emotion. Some left with tears, some, angry, but all left with the sadness of the season being over.
Head Coach Adam Welch explained what he told the guys in the locker room. “You know, it’s always the hardest time of year right is that last game because there’s only one team that can stand with the win and so you just talk to your guys and, and let them know it’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be upset and, you know, but as far as the seniors go you know they get to be a part of this thing that it’s not like they’re done and gone and we don’t see him ever again they get to be a part of something special. That’s our program forever and so that’s kind of the message we told those guys. Seniors you know he’ll part of this forever and you get to be a part of it, and you know, all the guys you can be sad, upset and all that and just do it together and look after each other and. And then, you know, looking back, you know, they’re not going to talk about, you know the last game, they’re going to talk about everything along the way you know all the fun things that happens along the way.”
As far as the season is concerned, Coach Welch thought a lot of great things happened for the guys, number one being, they were able to have a season. “I think, overall, I think it was a good season I think it was obviously challenging as was for everybody you know with all the COVID rules and not being in the locker room and you know you just, there’s other things you had to all of a sudden now face outside of a regular season, a normal season in the fact that, like said you normally get to have that camaraderie in the locker room and get to joke around and a lot of guys that’s, That’s such a big thing for them and the most enjoyable part of playing is just being with the guys and you know we missed out on some of that this year unfortunately but I thought our guys did a really good job of taking advantage of what they got and, you know, we kind of joked that, you know our bus, our bus rides were kind of our locker room, you know, there was one time that we all kind of got to sit together and just hang out together and so the bus kind of sort of became our locker room of hanging out. And so those kinds of things are the things that that’s what the kids are going to remember and so that’s kind of what those are kind of the high points of the year.”
Coach Welch discussed what is on the horizon for next year. “Yeah we have a lot of good kids, you know, not just good players but really good kids that are our junior class that are going to be seniors next year that you know with a Connor Stoffel and [Jake] Harris and [Stephen] Reifenberger and, you know, three of our defenseman that have played now for two years, are all going to be seniors and so, you know [Collin] Stewart, [Jack] Nicklay and [John] Chorlton and so there’s a good group of juniors that have played and been part of our team in the last couple of years, and that will be our leaders next year and, like I said, they’re just they’re really good kids too, which is a lot of fun to look forward to.”
A goalie and his back up. Raider Seniors embrace each other after a tough loss that ended their hockey season and high school hockey career. Tyler McCarville was Hastings’ number one goalie for the season and Simon Hedin number two. Hedin was out of the playoff game due to missing a weeks worth of practice from a precautionary quarantine. Thankfully, he was able to be done with it in time to see the game and support his close friend and teammate. More importantly, he was able to give him a supportive hug after the game. Photo by Bruce Karnick