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Marlins win Pee Wee B state title in OT

The Mitchell Marlin Pee Wee B hockey team poses for a photo after winning the state title Sunday at the Mitchell Activities Center. For full coverage see B2. Roster (Not in order pictured) Grace Halverson, Zachary Hansen, Isabel Bathke, Jermey Long, Riley Everson, Reed Foster, Justin Bruntz, Jenna Grosdidier, Ryan Bergeson, Kaden Jerke, Dayton Fiddler, Xavier Blackwell, Isaac Kitchens, Rebecca Weber, Jacob Schumacher, Austin Slaybaugh, Taylor Feterl, Carlos Contreras. (Photo courtesy of Tyler Lawrence)

There was magic at the Mitchell Activities Center for the Marlin Pee Wee B hockey team this season, and especially over the weekend.

Coming into the state tournament at the MAC, the Mitchell Marlins were the seventh seed and had to play a preliminary game just to get into the first round, but the team won four straight games in three days to capture the Pee Wee B state title.

The championship win came over previously undefeated Watertown 5-4 in overtime Sunday.

“The kids all knew they had it in them,” Joel Bergeson, one of three Marlin coaches, said. “Sure we are a little shocked, but it was just a great experience for these kids.”

The Marlins got the game-winning goal from Kayden Jerke just 34 seconds into the overtime period. The goal was the third of the game for Jerke, giving him a hat trick.

Mitchell finished its season with just one loss on home ice, after dropping the first eight games of the year on the road.

“We didn’t win a game before Christmas, but things started to click and the kids started to get their hockey legs,” Bergeson said, adding the last Pee Wee B state title for Mitchell came in 1996. Bergeson coaches along with Andy Jerke and Tom Fiddler.

The Marlins were forced to come back several times in the championship game. The Lakers jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, when Jared Slobotski netted the the second goal before the two-minute mark for Watertown.

Jenna Grosdidier answered back for the Marlins with a goal midway through the first. The teams traded goals to open the second period, but Watertown again stretched its lead to two with the third goal from Peyton Hoffer.

After a Jerke’s second goal early in the third, Xavier Blackwell tied the score for Mitchell with less than five minutes in regulation to force overtime, where Jerke locked up the title for the Marlins on assists from Ryan Bergeson and Dayton Fiddler.

The Marlins outshot the Lakers 27-21 and Jeremy Long stopped 17 shots in net for Mitchell in the win.

Mitchell got to the title game with another comeback win Saturday, topping Sioux Falls East 4-3. Jerke netted the game-winning goal in that contest as well, scoring late in the second period to give the Marlins their first lead of the game. Bergeson scored twice against the Flyers, while Carlos Contreras added a goal in the semi-final win.

The Marlins won 11 of their final 12 games this season, all of which were played at the MAC.

Sunday games

Held at the Mitchell Activities Center

7th place: Brookings 5. Huron 3

Fifth place: Rushmore 2. Sioux Falls West 1

Third place: Sioux Falls East 6. Aberdeen 0

Championship: Mitchell 5. Watertown 4 OT