Marlins head to state tourneyThe Mitchell Marlins boys’ hockey team is heading into the state tournament with hopes of a championship.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
The Mitchell Marlins boys’ hockey team is heading into the state tournament with hopes of a championship.
“I think we’re really confident,” head coach John Lord said. “Everything is really clicking for us right now.”
The Marlins are the second seed in the tournament after a 13-5-0-1 season and will face off with Aberdeen (6-11-0-1) in the first round of the state tournament at 3:30 p.m. Friday in Pierre.
Brookings, the top seed, finished 18-0 and stands as the biggest challenge for a Marlins state title run.
“We certainly think about (Brookings),” Lord said. “We know that last time we played Brookings we had a two-goal lead in the third period but lost in overtime.
“We know we can skate with them and we know we have the potential to win a state championship,” he added.
Lord doesn’t want his team to be looking ahead as Aberdeen has given Mitchell a couple challenging games this season.
Mitchell defeated Aberdeen 4-3 and 6-2 this season.
“We’ve got to take things one game at a time or even one (line) shift at a time,” Lord said. “We’ve got to be prepared, just because they’re a seventh seed doesn’t mean they’re not a capable team.”
The Marlins are led by Spencer Lawrence. Lawrence led the league with 51 goals and 91 points. His 40 assists were second in the league behind another Mitchell skater, Karl Hellstrom.
Hellstrom’s 76 points were good for second in the league as he recorded a league-high 54 assists and added 22 goals.
Austin Loes, another Mitchell player, finished third in the league in points at 72, including 41 goals and 31 assists.
With the top three scorers in the league, the Marlins’ first line is arguably the best in the circuit, but Lord knows that the defense will have to perform well to have a chance at a title.
“If we do make it to the championship game we just can’t have the mistakes,” he said. “We’ve got to play solid on the defensive zone.
“In the past when we’ve played some of the tougher teams we’ve given up in our defensive zone.”
Lord has been pleased with his team’s practices heading into the state tournament. He mentioned that the energy has been there and he has even ended practice early.
“Everything was clicking so well so we quit while we were ahead,” he said.
If the Marlins win on Friday they will play in the semifinals at 5 p.m. on Saturday in Pierre. They would take on the winner of the Huron and Oahe game. The championship game takes place at 3 p.m. on Sunday.