Marlins hockey on the riseThe Mitchell Skating and Hockey Association had a team competing in its third state championship game of the year Sunday as the Marlins boys’ team took down Brookings 2-0 to win the boys’ varsity state title.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
The Mitchell Skating and Hockey Association had a team competing in its third state championship game of the year Sunday as the Marlins boys’ team took down Brookings 2-0 to win the boys’ varsity state title.
Mitchell’s Bantam team had already capped off its undefeated state championship season on Feb. 26 and the Marlins’ girls finished runner-up at the girls’ varsity state tournament on March 4.
“It’s been a good year for Mitchell hockey,” girls coach Eric Hohn said.
Marlins’ boys coach John Lord is also excited for the rise of Mitchell hockey.
“Things are going to continue to look up,” Lord said. “There are just solid kids with good families that are moving up (in the Marlins’ program).”
Hohn added that when younger kids see the success of the teams, it can push them to work hard.
“The players that are playing at the younger levels see the older kids and what they accomplished and it gets them excited,” he said. “It will inspire them and get them excited to play the game.”
The Mitchell boys took down top-seed, and previously undefeated, Brookings 2-0 in the championship game on Sunday in Fort Pierre.
“It was awesome,” Lord said. “Everything kind of fell into place, the things that had to happen did.”
The Marlins had dropped two games to Brookings earlier in the season, but knew that a state championship game could give them an advantage.
“We knew that in the championship game they had TV timeouts,” Lord said. “Knowing that we were going to get at least a 30-second break (and) we could rest the first line was going to help us dramatically.”
Mitchell only runs two lines and its players don’t get as much of a break as their opponents, so the TV timeouts helped the Marlins keep their top players on the ice.
“I don’t think Spencer Lawrence got off the ice for the second or third period,” Lord said. “It’s freakish in a way. I’ve never seen another hockey player that could do that.”
Mitchell finished its season 16-5 and will celebrate its state title with a pep rally held by the Mitchell Hockey Association at 7:30 p.m. today at the Mitchell Activities Center.
“It feels amazing being able to knock off the undefeated, number-one seed,” Mitchell senior Taylor Herrick said. “We definitely had nerves before the game (but) we kind of calmed down after we got the first goal.”
“We weren’t intimidated like a lot of teams were,” fellow senior Austin Loes added. “We had a few butterflies (but) we knew we could outskate them.”
Herrick and Loes both described the feeling of a championship as amazing.
“It’s one of those experiences that you never want to let go,” Herrick added.