After instant classic, Hermantown still in disbelief of ninth st - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

After instant classic, Hermantown still in disbelief of ninth straight section title

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HERMANTOWN, MN -

The Hermantown boys' hockey team had nearly 24 hours to digest what just happened, and even that didn't seem like enough.

"It's tough to put into words," senior captain Tyler Watkins admitted, smiling.

On Wednesday night, Watkins played the role of hero and scored a game-winning goal in double overtime of the Section 7A championship game. For a team that will now get a chance to defend its back-to-back state titles, Watkins says Wednesday's win was among the most special.

"Especially in the section tournament when you're playing teams close to you that you've been rivals with for a while," he said, "it'll go down as one of the most memorable games we've played in."

The game was dubbed an instant classic, that after Hermantown battled back from a two-goal deficit in the third period only to see Greenway then score the game-tying goal with 0.1 seconds left in regulation.

When Watkins won it, with just 14 seconds left in the second overtime, emotions weren't mixed. There was only one.

"It wasn't excitement," sophomore forward Blake Biondi said. "We were all just so tired, it was like we were relieved. If you do in regulation, you're just so hyped up. We were so tired, it was relieving."

The overtimes were filled with chances for both teams, with Hermantown's Cole Manahan making 27 saves to earn the win.

"Every time a player touched the puck, the entire building exploded," he recalled. "I couldn't have asked for a better game from Greenway. It was just amazing."

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