After clenching their respective section titles, Hermantown and Duluth East make another trip to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Both teams are continuing a streak of appearances at the tournament, but their path to the big dance and the road ahead are different for each team.

Hermantown Hawks

Hermantown returns to the tournament for the sixth time after a 2014-2015 season that had them ranked among the best teams in Class A. In each of the five previous appearances, the Hawks have battled into the championship, only to fall short of claiming their first state championship title since 2007.

Hermantown's Recent Championship History

  • 2010 - Breck 2, Hermantown 1
  • 2011 - St. Thomas Academy 5, Hermantown 4
  • 2012 - St. Thomas Academy 5, Hermantown 1
  • 2013 - St. Thomas Academy 5, Hermantown 4
  • 2014 - East Grand Forks 7, Hermantown 3

The Hawks open the 2015 tournament as the top seed, facing against the Spring Lake Park Panthers out of Section 5A. This year marks the first appearance for Spring Lake Park in the state tournament. The Panthers are led in scoring by senior Jacob Nystrom, who posted 28 goals over the course of the regular season and section playoffs.

The quarterfinal game between Spring Lake Park and Hermantown is Wednesday night at 6 pm. The winner will advance to play the winner of the Breck-St. Cloud Apollo matchup in Friday afternoon's 1 pm semifinal.

Duluth East Greyhounds

Duluth East makes their seventh straight appearance at the state tournament in Class AA, continuing the success of head coach Mike Randolph. During the current streak, the Greyhounds reached one championship game; a 3-2 loss to Eden Prairie in 2011. While the appearance streak continues for the Hounds, they entered this year's section 7AA Championship against Elk River as underdogs. Here they pulled off a double overtime thriller upset to make this year's trip.

As the Hounds embark on this year's campaign to win their first championship since 1998, they will face an opponent Hermantown is very familiar with. East opens the 2015 tournament against the Cadets of St. Thomas Academy. The Cadets are in their second year in Class AA hockey, making their first tournament appearance since the private school hockey powerhouse switched to AA. East (6 seed) and St. Thomas Academy (3 seed) face off  in the 1 pm quarterfinal game on Thursday.